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rugby ball

UKAF U23s v Harlequins Academy

UKAF 18 Harlequins 55

The match between UK Armed Forces (UKAF) U23’s and a Harlequins Academy side proved to be a riveting encounter under the cloudy skies of the English capital, showcasing the intensity and skill of both teams. The game kicked off with an early promise as both sides displayed their intent to dominate the field.

In the opening minutes, UKAF drew first blood as No. 11 MNE F. Elliott intercepted the ball and dashed through the Harlequins defence, scoring a try within four minutes of the game. No.9 FG OFF O’Regan successfully converted, setting UKAF on a confident start with a 7-0 lead. UKAF 7 – 0 HAR

Following in the instant momentum gained early on by the team in the purple, UKAF capitalised upon numerous penalties conceded by their competitors. Allowing them to point towards the posts and aim for another 3 points from a penalty kick. A successful kick again from No.9 FG OFF O’Regan did indeed add these extra 3 and extend his team’s lead. UKAF 10 – 0 HAR

However, Harlequins quickly countered with their own efforts, gradually gaining ground and putting UKAF under pressure. Despite UKAF’s resilient defence, Harlequins managed to breach through finally, narrowing the scoreline with a try of their own, though the conversion was missed. UKAF 10 – 5 HAR

The first half progressed with both teams exchanging blows, showcasing physicality and determination. It was clear the wet ground and wet ball was causing problems for both teams, with Harlequins just edging in front and using this to their advantage as they charged up field. As a result, an open play mistake gifts the ball to N0.10 LNN D. Ronald for him to nudge it perfectly into the Harlequins try area for a UKAF player to chase down. Harlequins just got there first, but the pressure remained on as a 5 metre scrum followed.

UKAF’s defence held strong against Harlequins’ attacks, while they capitalized on opportunities to extend their lead, including a well-earned try by N0.12 MNE J. Hoffman. This was as a result of the rampant carries into the Harlequins defence which had to break eventually, rewarding UKAF with their 2nd try. UKAF 15 – 5 HAR, after the conversion drifted just wide.

Despite the score being against them, Harlequins gradually made their way up the pitch through route 1 rugby and barging there way into the purple defence gaining small metres after each exchange. This tactic ended up paying off and resulting in a Harlequins try under the sticks, making the conversion to follow easy enough for the Harlequins team to convert. UKAF 15 – 12 HAR

As halftime approached, the score stood at UKAF 18 – 12 Harlequins after the trusted boot of No.9 FG OFF O’Regan knocked over another penalty kick from 40 metres out. The UKAF team clearly breathing down the necks of their opposition and providing all sorts of pressure, reflecting the closely contested nature of the game.

Moments before Half-time we the continued theme with Harlequins mistakes costing them and floating the ball into the hands of No.6 KGN J. Daveta for him to dart down the touchline for a possible UKAF try before halftime, but just got caught before he could put the ball down over the line. Taking us into Halftime.


Halftime score: UKAF 18 – 12 Harlequins

The second half saw a rejuvenated Harlequins side, determined to turn the tide in their favour. They capitalized on early opportunities, scoring quick tries and successfully converting one, taking the lead for the first time in the match. The score now UKAF 18 – 24 Harlequins after just 10 minutes played in the new half.

Unlike the first half the UKAF team couldn’t gain the same metres and burst through the same tackles, leaving them short of any attacking go forward. However, it is both teams that still continue to make handling errors.


Despite UKAF’s efforts to regain momentum, it is Harlequins that are now playing most of their rugby within the UKAF half and making promising attempts towards the try line. Handling errors and penalties plagued the game, allowing Harlequins luckily to capitalize again and extend their lead further. Harlequins showcased their attacking prowess, exploiting gaps in the UKAF defence to secure multiple tries. The scoreline now being extended by the Londoners. UKAF 18 – 31 Harlequins

Mistakes such as the restart kick not going 10 metres and the raised level of the Harlequins side’s skills sees them knocking on the door of another try. With another try imminently appearing moments after in the far corner, as they now attack the wide channels of the UKAF defence. UKAF 18 – 38 HAR, with a successful conversion completed with just 14 minutes left of still evenly contested game.

As the match reached its final moments, Harlequins maintained and extended their lead again, but did not appear dominant as UKAF did not make it easy for them with massive hits and clear determination. UKAF 18 – 55 HAR. This extended score being as a result of 3 more tries off the back of silly mistakes or quick plays from the Harlequins side. Capitalising on UKAF’s mistakes to secure a comprehensive victory with a final score of 18 – 55, despite a last ditched attempt at a consolation try from the UKAF side, just falling short. The score really not justifying the collision between these 2 huge teams.



The match highlighted the resilience and skill of both teams, with Harlequins emerging as the deserving victors after a commanding performance in the second half. This game was followed with all of the UKAF players receiving their 1st caps from the Vice Chair, Air Commodore Al Roberts in a well-deserved celebratory presentation. The exchanges after the fixture also saw the current Director of Rugby WO Tug Wilson MBE pass the baton to Lt Col Ben Birkbeck, adding to the special nature of the evening.


UKAF Line Up

1. Ryan Eastley - Army

2. George Coen - Army

3. Callum Buchanan - Army

4. Charlie Kerr - Royal Navy

5. Toby Horne - Royal Navy

6. Jeremaia Daveta - Army

7. Tom Quainton - RAF

8. Sebastian Jones - Army

9. Jack O’Regan - RAF

10. Danny Ronald - Royal Navy

11. Freddy Elliott - Royal Navy

12. Jamin Hoffman - Royal Navy

13. Jamie Diamond - Army

14. Jeerom Chipondene - RAF

15. Jack Davis - Royal Navy

16. Dylan Martin - RAF

17. Tam Bald - RAF

18. Ryan Armstrong - RAF

19. Sam Tunnicliff - RAF

20. Harry Mayes - Royal Navy

21. Waisea Ravonokula - Army

22. Henry John - Royal Navy

23. Ieuan Griffiths - RAF