Cambridge University are out-gunned by the Army
PUBLISHED: 22:49 17 January 2018
Iliffe Media Ltd
Forces side in rampant form
Life in the Lent Term made an inauspicious start for Cambridge University as they were out-gunned by the Army at Grange Road.
It was not the final farewell that the students’ out-going captain Charlie Amesbury would have been looking for as a fearsome Forces side were in rampant form to secure a 73-10 victory.
While it was a final run-out as Light Blues skipper for Amesbury, it was a first match of the season for the Army, and if this game is anything to go by then they have given themselves the perfect platform for the campaign ahead.
The university were missing a number of their Varsity Match-winning squad, but still fielded 11 Blues, with seven of the starting line-up that faced Oxford at Twickenham.
And in the early stages of the game they were proving to be more than a match for the visitors, actually going ahead through a 13th-minute penalty from Jake Hennessey.
But once the Army started to cut out some of the cheaper penalties they had been conceding, they managed to get a stranglehold on the game.
There has always been something great to watch about the Army side in full flight, running the ball and offering great support lines and off-loads.
That is always added to by the strengths of their forwards, and the platform they gained at the line-out was the key to many of their scores in the first half.
The close forward play led to them taking the lead after 19 minutes as Cpl Matt Dawson got the ball down, and LCpl James Dixon kicked what was the first of five first-half conversions.
A second try followed two minutes later as Sig Davetanivalu went round the outside of the hosts’ defence to get the second try.
The third was scored in the 28th minute following a catch and drive at a line-out, with Sgt Taura grounding the ball.
But there was a riposte from the Light Blues as scrum-half Chris Bell wriggled over the line after they had showed some patience to recycle possession from a line-out.
A catch and drive from another set piece saw Bdr Peter Austin ground the ball and then a blistering break from LCpl Chris Leathem saw possession recycled wide for LBdr Eddy Edwards to touch down in the corner for a 35-10 half-time lead.
It was one-way traffic after the break, as the play became more open with both sides emptying their benches.
The highlight from the Army was their eighth try, on the hour, with a break from their own half and such delicate and close passing and great support play setting Leathem free to touch down.
Edwards got two more tries, Austin and LBdr Sailasa Vunivesilevu got one apiece, while the score went over 70 with a penalty try from the last play of the game.
So while it may not have been the ideal send-off for Amesbury, he will be able to look back with pride at a captaincy that brought the ultimate prize – victory over Oxford at Twickenham.
Cambridge University: Saunter; Story, Triniman, Amesbury, Hattea; Hennessey, Bell; Dean, Burnett, Troughton, Hunter, Rose, Smart, Leonard, Richardson.
Replacements: Huppatz, MacCallum, White, Beckett, Eriksen, Hammond, Elms, Perks, Bewes.
Army: Bdr Davies; LCpl Rokodugni, Sig Daveetanivalu, LCpl Leathem, LBdr Edwards; LCpl Dixon, Cps Evans; Sgt Titchard-Jones, Bdr Austin, LCpl Smith, Cpl Lewis Bean, LCpl Smith, Capt Cross, Cpl Dawson, Sgt Taura.
Replacements: Cpl Brown, Sgt Dowding, Bdr Gill, Cpl Parkins, Capt Miller, LBdr Vunivesilevu, Cps Nacavamuto, LCpl Wilson.
Referee: Carl Adams.
Scorers: 13min Hennessey pen (3-0), 19 Dawson try – Dixon con (3-7), 21 Davetanivalu try – Dixon con (3-14), 29 Taura try – Dixon con (3-21), 35 Bell try – Hennessey con (10-21), 38 Austin try – Dixon con (10-28), 40+2 Edwards ty – Dixon con (10-35), 48 Edwards try (10-40), 52 Austin try – Dixon con (10-47), 60 Leathem try – Dixon con (10-54), 71 Edwards try (10-59), 78 Vunivesilevu try – Davies con (10-66), 80+2 penalty try (10-73).