Football

'A massive challenge': Royal Navy U23s head coach looks ahead to Inter Services

Watch: Royal Navy U23s head coach looks ahead to Inter Services.

Royal Navy U23s head coach Lieutenant Commander Chris James is expecting difficult games at the 2023 Inter Services championships next month as they look to retain their title.

Lt Cdr James was speaking after his team drew 2-2 with students from the University of Portsmouth at HMS Temeraire.

A double from Brayden Jones saved the Navy from defeat in the second half after a poor first half showing.

The Navy kick off their Inter Services campaign away to the RAF at Rayners Lane on 8 February before hosting the Army in Portsmouth on 22 February.

They are the reigning champions after winning the 2022 title following a points deduction for the Army for fielding an ineligible player.

"To be honest, I think both will be a massive challenge," said the Navy head coach.

"They were last year. I don't think there's often too much in it so it can certainly be small moments in games that will make the difference.

"The expectation is a really very tough game against both, so we will prepare to be challenged and to provide a massive challenge to our opposition as well."

The Navy made a disastrous start against University of Portsmouth and found themselves 2-0 down at half-time.

Cal Reeves scored twice but, in the second period, the Navy showed the fight and passion they will need against their service rivals and grabbed a draw thanks to Jones' double.