Match Report: UKAF Men v Rugby for Heroes

In front of a noisy, excited crowd at Kingsholm the Remembrance Rugby fixture between UK Armed Forces and Rugby for Heroes promised to be an exciting game even before the first whistle had blown.

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

The UKAF team was without some of their big names, though Josh McNally did travel up to present the team their jerseys, but the Rugby for Heroes squad was littered with familiar names from Premiership and international rugby. Julian Salvi and Jordan Crane in the back row are both familiar faces for rugby fans and Delon Armitage & Tom Varndell might both be retired but they give up their time for so many charity fixtures they still look match fit. Their captain Mike Tindall led from the front and it’s clear he still doesn’t know how to give anything other than his all.

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

With so much talent on display, it was no surprise that Rugby for Heroes were the first team to score. A series of passes allowing Armitage within inches of the line after just three minutes and Jordan Crane, with the poaching instincts of a lifelong number 8, finding space to stretch his arms and score. Ryan Lamb was unable to convert.

It was all white shirts for the next few minutes, UKAF resolute in defence but unable to get their hands on the ball as Rugby for Heroes showed their pedigree with some lovely offloading. A dropped ball led to UKAF possession and one pass later Jarrad Hayler showed the sort of pace you don’t associate with a back row forward as the Royal Navy man sped through a gap in the line to score and get the UK Armed Forces show on the road!

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

Army’s James Dixon’s conversion was good and UKAF took the lead. All this and still only 7 minutes on the clock! A couple of minutes later and the Air Force got in on the action too. Sam Hutchinson might be playing in the second row but he stole an intercept that would make a winger proud and charged through to score.

The individual talent on Rugby for Heroes showed through as they continued to dominate territory and possession but the fitness and unity of the men in purple ensured their opponents were thwarted time and again.

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

More tries, from Ryan Crowley, Ben Chambers and Setareki Raumakita as well as a Rugby for Heroes score from Johnny Arr meant we went into half time with a 31-12 score line and a lot of anticipation that the second half could be as exciting.

Connor O’Reilly quickly got UK Armed Forces on the scoresheet in the second half with a lovely try to cap off some flowing rugby. The winger is currently plying his trade for Colchester but on this evidence could do a job in the Championship or perhaps even higher, he’s been a threat all evening.

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

A wonderful, leaping, intercept by Craig Duncan propelled UKAF even further ahead and the team in purple were looking completely dominant at this point. They kept possession well, working the phases and patiently building their possession and 15 minutes into the second half the Army’s Nathanael Tichard-Jones ran as only a prop can to power over the line.

Delon Armitage, who spent the entire game playing on the edge, finally got Rugby for Heroes back on the scoreboard with a deft touch to control and down the ball. From there a period of end-to-end rugby where neither team could capitalise and the skill of the Rugby for Heroes team was neutralised time and again by UKAF’s fitness and tenacity and they’d capitalise through Rob Bell to add another to the purple side of the scoreboard.

With just under ten minutes on the clock Rugby for Heroes struck again, Matt Jess creating some space for Kotobalavu to score. Ryan Lamb, increasingly showing his flair threw a huge, winding, (possibly forward?) pass that referee Tom Foley, sensing the joy in the crowd and wearing a beaming smile of his own, deemed legal for a try that Lamb quickly converted. A Barbarians-esque moment and a good reminder that charity and entertainment are the keywords for this game.

UK Armed Forces Rugby v Rugby for Heroes, 17th November 2021, Kingsholm Stadium – Photo Credit Neil Kennedy / Alligin Photography

With the clock in the red UKAF decided they weren’t quite finished, Ryan Crowley picking up a dropped ball, zipping through to the try line and landing the ball with a big splash. The metronomic boot of James Dixon giving UK Armed Forces a final score of 62 to Rugby for Heroes’ 33. A fantastic game, a great spectacle and some players we need to keep an eye on ahead of the inter-services games in the spring!

Match Report: UKAF Women v Equipe de France Militaire Féminine.

by Matt Merritt from

It’s been a long wait for the return of forces rugby, with inter services games suspended for the last two years due to Covid we’ve missed out on some great matchups, so it was somehow fitting for the return of military women’s rugby to come in the form of a UK Armed Forces match up against Equipe de France Militaire Féminine.

An early sign that this would be a good evening came as a queue formed on Burnaby Rd ahead of the doors being opened and a boisterous crowd formed, friends and family of the UKAF team mingled with military rugby fans and even a few folks who walked in as they passed to see what was going on and they were all treated to a hard-hitting, edge-of-the-seat game of rugby.

The UKAF team, built around a core of international players including Red Roses star Amy Cokayne and Welsh capped players Bethan Dainton and captain Sian Williams, was jam packed with top end talent. Scrum half Lucy Nye is not just an RAF team stalwart but also a regular for Wasps Women in the Premier 15s where her half-back partner for the evening Daisy Fahey has become a key player for Gloucester-Hartpury.

Army referee Capt Nikki O’Donnell. Photo © Lee Crabb

As the sun began to set the players took to the field, anthems were sung, and referee Nikki O’Donnell blew the whistle to start the game.

From the off this was a hugely physical encounter, bodies crashing together, and every ruck being contested as if it were the last the players would be involved in. For all that physicality played it’s part, the first points came from a well-drilled set piece five minutes in as Amy Cokayne, latching onto the back of a maul formed from the lineout, found her way over the line. Full back Sarah Graham stepped up to nail her kick.

Try scorer Amy Cokayne came out strong from the very start. Photo © Lee Crabb

Almost immediately the French would reply as their own 15, Adeline Carrasquet found a gap, beat the UKAF defence and collected a chip from fly-half Pauline Galateau to score for herself. The French kick was successful, bringing us back to an even score.

A powerful UKAF scrum, forcing back the French forwards and winning a penalty gave Graham a chance to add to her tally, but the ball drifted.

Carys Williams proved to be a danger to the French defence throughout the match. Photo © Lee Crabb

As the forwards crashed and clashed, the UKAF backs probed and exploited openings. Carys Williams in particular was a constant threat with her rangy runs, but it was from the other wing that the next points would come, an all-Army affair with lightning quick outside back Fionidi Parker collecting a long pass from Harlequins centre Jade Mullen, weaving through French bodies and dotting down, unopposed, for the try.

Sarah Graham converting the first try of the match. Photo © Lee Crabb

From there the crunching tackles started to take their toll, Sarah Graham having to leave the field due to injury to be replaced by Navy wing Rose Dixon who provided a constant threat down the left for the remainder of the game. Lucy Nye looked set to follow after a thunderous hit from a French lock but was just winded and after a few seconds to collect herself shook off the effects to return to the game.

The Royal Marine Band excellent as always. Photo © Lee Crabb

The first half would end 12-7 and after a performance from the Royal Marines Band we returned to the action.

After battling time and again toward the French try line it would be Cokayne popping up again to score. Appearing on the left wing she deftly caught a long, looping pass from Daisy Fahey, handed off a defender and crossed the line. Another well worked Maul would see Amy once again dot down for her hat-trick.

As both teams made a series of changes the game began to open up and France’s tighthead Rykam Ait Lahbib, who had been dangerous all game and would end up playing the full 80 minutes, started to open up with some powerful runs into contact and fearsome tackling.

SSAFA Player of the Match Sally Stott on her way to scoring a try on her debut UKAF game. Photo credit © Lee Crabb

The next points would once again be scored by UKAF though, this time it would be impressive debutant Sally Stott. The Loughborough Lightning number 8 collecting from the lineout and powering over with a little assistance from her fellow forwards.

Resolute defence from the UK side all game long continued as the constant graft of Bethan Dainton, Erica Mills, inside centre Louise Dodd and talismanic captain Sian Williams paid off. Every ruck, every covering tackle, one of the four seemed to be at the centre of it and held firm to deny their opponents.

Pure power gave France a consolation try late on as they pushed through the scrum and stampeded across the line to add five points to their tally. Inside centre Lea Shaurly the scorer. The conversion was quickly taken out of hand, a shrewd move as Burnaby Road’s crosswinds made it a tough night for kickers.

As we wound into the final minutes France were determined not to suffer defeat by a wider margin, time and again denying the purple shirts of the UKAF, notably when Rose Dixon collected a pass from Amy Cokayne and looked certain to score only for a French player to deny her.

8 UKAF debutants. From L-R: Becky Wilson, Sarah Graham, Yasmin Suer, Daisy Fahey, Nicole Burger, Rose Dixon, Fionidi Parker & Sally Stott. Photo credit © Lee Crabb

The game ended 27-14. A hard fought and entertaining encounter that both teams gave their all. No doubt there will be some weary bodies this morning but the UK Armed Forces Women will be delighted to have returned with a win after a long time away!

The French side proved to be a very strong opposition. Photo credit © Lee Crabb

UKAF 29 Rugby for Heroes 26 – Match Report

On a wet an gloomy November night at Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol Bears, the U.K. Armed Forces Rugby men’s team took to the field for their annual Remembrance fixture. This year the opposition came from Rugby for Heroes and they produced a team littered with ex internationals and former Premiership players.

The first half kicked off and the Rugby for Heroes put the UKAF lads on the back foot with some unpredictable and expansive BaaBaas style rugby. Both sides made huge defensive efforts which forced errors, the horrendous weather conditions and high tempo of the game saw the ball turned over repeatedly but it was R4H that managed to crack their opposition’s defensive line first with their quick off loads and international class. They backed that up with another quick try and put themselves 0-14 ahead within the first 10 minutes . It looked like it was going to be a rough night for the UKAF boys as R4H racked up more points and pushed themselves further ahead, but the never quit attitude from the UKAF lads saw them get back in the game and go into half time with some points on the board.

Half time UKAF 7 – 26 Rugby for Heroes

The second half was a different story and the UKAF team emerged from half time with a new outlook on the game and met the R4Hs BaaBaas style with their own inventive and expansive rugby. Both teams stepped up their defensive efforts and the tackling just got more brutal. UKAF had R4H on the back foot now, they dominated the scrum and started making good yards down field with some hard running and quick hands. R4H eventually cracked under the pressure and UKAF starting adding more points to the score board. It was now a case of experience vs stamina and the UKAF’s military fitness and resilience kicked in as they managed to claw their way right back into the game. The last 10 minutes was a display of free flowing creative rugby which saw the UKAF score in the dying minutes and sealed them the hard fought victory the deserved.
The entire game was a pure spectacle of rugby enjoyed by both teams and supporters alike.

Final score UKAF 29 – 26 Rugby for Heroes

We would like to say a huge thanks to JP Doyle and the rest of the match officials who helped make this remembrance game the show piece of rugby that it was.

The Dell Technologies Man of the Match went to AB Gareth Rees Royal Navy

We could put our players out onto the field without the support from our amazing sponsors

Dell Technologies
Collins Aerospace
Legation Strategies

And our charity partner SSAFA the Armed Forces Charity.

UKAF Rugby 17 Republic of Fiji Military Force 31 – Full Match Report

Eddie Jones, the England Head Coach stated before the World Cup that whichever team who coped with adversity in Japan the best, would be the one standing more chance of winning the trophy.  And that quote was fully tested as the build up to the Final of the International Defence Rugby Competition 2019 could not have been more challenging.  The location for the final was to be the Kashiwanoha Park Stadium, a venue truly fitting of the final between the UK Armed Forces and Fiji.

However, 10 minutes into the 3rd Place Play Off Final between France and New Zealand, the strong winds blew over the left hand goal post, shearing the supporting bolts and thus rendering the posts completely unserviceable.  Frantic discussions then took place between the Japanese officials, desperate to fulfil their commitments, who even suggested that the game be played with no posts, no conversion, drop goals or penalty kicks.

Thankfully common sense prevailed and given excellent organisation by the host nation, the game was moved to Camp Narashino, the venue of UKAF’s first game and the squad’s training pitch during the tournament.  The teams marched onto the pitch with a large crowd anticipating a great battle, the anthems adding to the majesty of the event.

The travel disruption and delayed start did not affect either team as both tried to launch plays from strong field position early in the game.  Despite the strong, and at times, typhoon strength, winds that blew across the pitch, both teams attacked with ball in hand, passing plays just not quite able to break two very well drilled and resolute defences.  It was UKAF who made the breakthrough, when Dixon punished a Fijian offside infringement after a bruising tackle with a kick to make it 3-0.

This was to be the last UKAF points on the scoreboard for the remainder of the half as the Fijians’ power and sublime counter-attack mentality began to make inroads into the UKAF defence.  After a great catch and drive by UKAF which was sadly knocked on RFMF capitilised from the resulting scrum when their scrum half, Leone Nawai a former Fiji U2 international, broke from his own goal line.  The ball was taken on by Epi Cokanasiga wh kicked ahead before being tackled.  Nawai won the foot race to the ball to score his sides opening try.  The RFMF flyhalf Jeke Suguturage missed the conversion but the RFMF had a 5-3 lead.

The second Fiji try came after a period of sustained pressure by UKAF in the Fijian 22, but an overthrown line out was picked off and after slick hands, the Fijians scored again through their left wing Epi Cokanasiga to make it 3-12.  The UKAF defence was tested again and again, the Fijians strong in the tackle but using the offload to significant effect.  Again, sustained pressure stretched the UKAF men who had to resort to killing the ball but a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ tap and go Leone Nawai to score his second and to give RFMF a commanding 3-17 lead at the half after Suguturage had missed the conversion.

As in the Semi-Final, the team had Head Coach Lee Soper’s firm half-time talk ringing in their ears and began to build on their strengths of a strong set piece and a flying set of backs, well-orchestrated by the tactical kicking game of Dixon, who used the wind to fantastic effect and kept the Fijians pinned in their 22 for long periods of the half.  But the same Fijian offload game continued to test even the most resolute of UKAF defence.  As in the first half, a significant passage of play led the Fijians to the UKAF 22, who having been caught offside enabled the Leone Nawai to once again tap and go.  This time the powerful right wing, Gabby Matakiviwa, had drifted in field to take the pop pass and go under the posts four his teams fourth try.   Suguturage landed the simple kick and RFMF had extended their lead to 24-3

With UKAF team buoyed by the reinforcements from the bench adding fresh legs, the team began convert a dominance up front with great field position.

They were camped on the Fijian line for long passages of play, not being able to find a way through until finally, the Fijian defence could cope with the onslaught no longer and Rob Bell finished a superb catch and drive maul, converted by Dixon to make it 10-24.

With their tails up, UKAF continued its dominance but again, just could not break down the Fijians immense tackling and turnovers which led to the stand out try of the match with the Fijian backline demonstrating their supberb handling skills in extreme conditions, coupled with their forwards exploiting time and space to give them a 10-31 unassailable lead.

Despite knowing the game was lost, UKAF continued to play with drive and vigour and after pressure led to a Fijian yellow card, the men in purple exploited the overload and enabled Stu Cross to score the final try of IDRC 19 to make the final score 17-31.

Head Coach Lee Soper said “the first thing I would like to say a massive thank you to all the players for their gigantic efforts on the pitch against a very good team.  To my TSG for all their support they have given myself and the lads over these past 6 months.  We started very well but a couple of mistakes cost us points in the first half and the lads did great after the half time break.  I’m just really proud of this bunch of players to have pulled together in such a short space of time to achieve getting and running the Fijians close at the end”.

With their tails up, UKAF continued its dominance but again, just could not break down the Fijians immense tackling and turnovers which led to the stand out try of the match with the Fijian backline demonstrating their supberb handling skills in extreme conditions, coupled with their forwards exploiting time and space to give them a 10-31 unassailable lead.

Despite knowing the game was lost, UKAF continued to play with drive and vigour and after pressure led to a Fijian yellow card, the men in purple exploited the overload and enabled Stu Cross to score the final try of IDRC 19 to make the final score 17-31.

Head Coach Lee Soper said “the first thing I would like to say a massive thank you to all the players for their gigantic efforts on the pitch against a very good team.  To my TSG for all their support they have given myself and the lads over these past 6 months.  We started very well but a couple of mistakes cost us points in the first half and the lads did great after the half time break.  I’m just really proud of this bunch of players to have pulled together in such a short space of time to achieve getting and running the Fijians close at the end”.

Director of Rugby Doc Cox added “The final whistle brought to an end a truly hard-fought contest where both sides battled against the elements kindly provided by Typhoon Tapah.  The UKAF players that took to the field wore the shirt with pride and passion, and can be justifiably proud of their efforts both on and off the pitch and their achievements.  Despite being magnanimous in defeat, the result is still a bitter pill to swallow when you take into consideration the amount of possession UKAF had in the Fijian Red Zone and their abrasive defence stopped the UKAF score line ticking over.  As the sun set on the closing ceremony new friendships have been made that will stay not only between the players and TSG, but throughout the rugby family around the world”.

So, the defending champions Fiji retain their trophy and despite the conditions in the final, they played with both power and sublimity and are worthy Champions.  The player of the tournament was awarded to the Fijian Number 9, Leone Nawai, who was today’s man of the match.

UKAF can be proud of their achievements in Japan, leaving with significant memories, new friendships made and the UKAF name ever more prestigious.

UKAF Rugby 39 – France Armed Forces 12 – Full Match Report

Despite a continued spell of British like autumnal weather, the Semi Final of the IDRC 19 between the UK Armed Forces Rugby Team and France National Military Rugby Team, the defence version of Le Crunch was played in another hot and humid stifling atmosphere. Although preparations for the UKAF team had gone well, early match nerves led to both sides making mistakes, leading the game lacking any fluidity over the first 20 minutes.

UKAF expected a hard game up front and so it came to pass with the French scrum dominating and their defence limiting the UKAF back line to marginal gains.

The first breakthrough however came from continued pressure from the forwards and a bulldozing run from AET Brad Janes, picking up where he left off from the first game, down the right wing, stretching the French defence and allowing some quick passing out wide to see Mne Craig Duncan score under the posts on his UKAF Debut.  The French responded quickly and only by UKAF killing the ball where they repelled, but a difficult kick missed led to a 7-0 scoreline.

French perseverance paid off however, with their forward domination allowing gaps appearing in midfield and a well-deserved try reduced the deficit to 7-5.

UKAF reverted to their strengths and a lineout in great field position led to a catch and drive, patiently building to enable Sgt Gareth ‘Bombhead’ Smith give UKAF a hard fought 12-5 lead with 10 minutes to go.

A penalty opportunity from LCpl James ‘Dicko’ Dixon went amiss and with the French capitalising on key UKAF errors, their swift backline quickly brought the scores level at 12-12.  With the nerve’s tangible, from the kick off, UKAF steadied the ship, drove into midfield and poor French discipline lead to another penalty opportunity for Dicko which this time he landed to give a close but reflective 15-12 half time scoreline.

After Head Coach SSgt Lee Soper’s half time strongly worded direction, UKAF were a different team in the second half.  Early match nervousness was transformed into an assured forward platform, led by LPT Ben Priddey and the engine room of AET Scott Makepeace and Sgt Ross Parkins.  With flyhalf Dixon orchestrating field position and the back line moves with more fluidity and wider field vision, UKAF began to find both space, time and more importantly points.  The first try of the second half came from a typical scrum half steal after the forwards pummelled the French line, wearing down their defences and allowing AB Gareth Rees to touch the ball down from two metres out for his second try of the tournament.  22-12 to UKAF and a crucial double score deficit for the tiring French to make up.

With continued and sustained pressure, Dicko drew on all facets of his exceptional game and a chip over the French defence again led to them killing the ball giving him the opportunity to further extend the lead by another 3 points.

This was the turning point for the French as their structure and, more importantly, discipline began to falter.  With the UKAF making key substitutions, every player adding significantly to the ongoing effort on the pitch, the standard of rugby was, in places, exceptional.

The French, with traditional gallic flair and in desperation, tried to run the ball from their own 22 but in doing so they failed to spot Flt Lt Stu Philpot who grabbed an interception and was unapposed to score under the posts.

With 7 minutes to go and the game won, the French admirably kept attacking the UK line but a breakout from Mne Ratu Vakalutukali supported by Mne Seta Raumakita gave  Sgt Dave Manning clear open space in which he, bizarrely, placed an exquisite grubber kick (from a prop!) which allowed Dicko the time and space to place a wonderfully chipped ball into the corner which saw AET Brad Janes grab the last try of the game.   Dixon made the difficult conversion from the touchline to give UKAF a well deserved 39-12 final winning score.

As before there were some stand out performances to give Mr Jeff Portlock, Defence Lead for the key sponsor SecureCloud+, a real headache.  He noted the contribution from the pack as a whole and James Dixon for his game management but outright Man of the Match with some incredible turnovers and sheer work rate throughout was  Sgt Matt Dawson who, at openside flanker was immense.

Head Coach Lee Soper said “I’m glad we have made the final and we now have a challenge to overcame some knock as and scrapes to prepare the players for the big game against Fiji”.

UKAF Director of Rugby, Lt Cdr Doc Cox added “The UKAF squad should be commended for their stoic performance and sticking to the Head Coaches’ game plan, despite the dogged French team continually pushing the boundaries of fair sportsmanship, leaving 3 players with eye gouge marks and various off the ball incidents. We now look forward to the final with Fiji and I know that Lee Soper, his coaching team and our medical staff will prepare the players during the remaining days for the final of the IDRC 19, bringing to fruition a wonderfully organised tournament thus far by the Japanese Ministry of Defence”.

The final of IDRC 19 with be between UKAF and The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Rugby at the Kashiwanoha Park Stadium, an amazing 20,000 capacity venue on Monday 23 Sep 19 with Kick off at 1430(L) (0630 UK Time).

UKAF Team: Smith, Priddey, Dowding, Parkins, Makepeace, Vaaklutukali, Dawson, Miller (C), Rees, Dixon, Chambers, Raumakita, Fatiaki, Janes, Janes, Duncan  Reps: Philpott, Harris, Manning, Heath, Cross, Huntley, O’Reilly, Pascoe

Tries: Duncan, Smith, Rees, Philpott, Janes  Cons: Dixon (4)  Pens: Dixon (2)

UKAF Rugby 69 Georgia 3 – Match Report

11 Sep 2019 – Opening Round IDRC 2019 – GSDF Narashino, Japan

On a hot humid day with temperatures reaching 36 Degrees and 82% humidity, the UK Armed Forces commenced their IDRC 19 Journey with their opening fixture against a hugely physical Georgian Defence Force at Camp Narashino.

Although confident in their own ability, the UKAF team, led by Captain Jamie Miller AAC, were cautious of the Georgian pack, given their fierce national reputation.  And so it came to pass with the Georgians taking the initial upper hand having won the ball from the kick off, they made inroads into the UKAF defence with powerful and strong running and, counter to initial thoughts, the back line made good progress, leading to them taking an early 3-0 lead.

However, this was to be their last foray into UKAF territory as, from the ensuing kick off, the pack, whose performance was typified by barnstorming performances by Scott Makepeace, Rob Bell and Stu Cross, giving the backs front foot ball with James Dixon orchestrating a back line full of pace, power and strong running.

The first breakthrough came from a Toby Evans 30 yard sprint for the try line which came up short, leading to a line out on the 5 yard line which, following a perfectly executed catch and drive gave Toby deservedly the opening score.

From the Kick off, Georgian poor discipline, which got worse as the match progressed, led to a penalty kick from Dixon.

Now dominating both the line out and, more importantly, the scrum, and the UKAF backs finding more and more space, the flood gates opened.  A try from Rob Bell following a great line from Ben Chambers extended the lead to 17-3.  Despite continued warnings from the Referee, who had a great personal performance, the Georgians began to try to kill the ball and were finally penalised with the first yellow card of the game.  This allowed even more space out wide and tries from Gareth Rees and Rob Bell in open play gave UKAF a well deserved half time lead of 31-3.

The second half got off to a stormer with a try from the Kick off by Brad Janes, quickly followed by one from Dan Tooth.  The Head Coach, Lee Soper then began to ring the changes with the introduction of a new front row and Edd Pascoe at 7 with Stu Cross moving to No 8.  Ben Priddey, making an immediate impact began to find a world of space which gave Connor O’Reilly his first IDRC 19 Try.  Ben Chambers and Brad Janes continued to excel and both were rewarded by exceptional scores out wide.

With their tails up, UKAF tried to run the ball from all over the park on any counter attack opportunity, which was rewarded by the final try of the game scored by Ben Chambers making the final score, an impressive 69-3 win.

The Man of the Match decision, decided by the British Defence Attaché, Captain Simon Staley RN, was a close run thing, but was rightfully awarded to Captain Stuart Cross who was presented with a Silver Salver provided by UKAF sponsors SecureCloud+.

An impressive performance given the hostile conditions.  Head Coach Lee Soper said ”going into the game we wanted to make sure the team were prepared properly after the long journey here.  The team were focused and professional in their own preparations.  The game started with a few errors, but the defensive line held strong for the first 10 minutes and then from this the team exploited the space, were patient in getting the scores.  At half time, the support staff were exceptional in treating the players given the intensity of the heat and the effects on the players.   I’m pleased that all the players got on the field as I’ve said, this is a 27 man effort for the whole competition.  We now analyse the game to ensure we are ready for the next challenge.”

Director of Rugby Doc Cox added “The score line reflected the hard work the guys have put in on the training paddock over the last couple of days, thanks to the meticulous preparation from the coaches, medical and TSG. Now the hard work begins as we prepare for the next match”.

So, the team now progress to the Semi Final in Camp Asaka, to be held on 19 Sep 19 at Camp Asaka at 1130 against the winners of France versus the home nation Japan.

Team list: Smith, Philpott, Manning, Makepeace, Parkins, Cross, Bell, Miller (Capt), Rees, Dixon, Chambers, Tooth, Janes, O’Reilly, T Evans Reps: Priddey, Dowding, Harris, Heath, Pascoe. M Evans, Fatiaki, Huntley