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Rugby Union: Royal Navy Go On Attack Against Oxford University

The Royal Navy men have started their rugby union season with a comfortable 42-24 win over Oxford University...

The Royal Navy men have started their rugby union season with a comfortable 42-24 win over Oxford University.

The Senior Service maintained control throughout most of the tie at the United Services Recreation Ground in Portsmouth. 

That was despite a change in management and plenty of new faces in the playing squad, with a number of youth players coming of age having won the Inter-Services Under-23 title for the past three years.

But it was the Oxford students who took the early advantage, with clever play across the backline seeing them cross the line first for an unconverted score.

Royal Navy rugby union win Vs Oxford University 2018

The military side, though, restricted them to just those five first-half points - while going on to score three tries of their own.

Ratu 'Toots' Vakalutukali equalised for the Navy after patient play through the phases put the flanker across.

In similar fashion, team captain Ben Priddey added both the secondand third, showing some neat hands in the process.

Jon Humphrey converted all three - including one from the touchline - to leave the military side 21-5 up at the interval.

And the Navy maintained control for the most part in the second half.

Replacement Tom Nottman scored a fourth try (below) before Priddey sealed his hat-trick with a flying score for the fifth.

Royal Navy rugby union win Vs Oxford University 2018

But the men in white were perhaps guilty of letting the University side back into the game, although there were infringements on both sides

In the last 20 minutes Oxford scored their second and third tries, playing the Navy at their own game of patience before touching down in the corner.

They then capitalised on a mistake from the forces side tocounter from their own 22.

Seti Raumakita sealed the deal for the Senior Service after returning from the sin bin, though, combining with Rhys Dimmock-Williams to carve through the Oxford defence.

The Blues had the last word, however, to leave the final score 42-24.

Chief Petty Officer Dave Pascoe, the Navy's most capped player, has this year moved up from his role as the team's assistant to head coach.

Royal Navy rugby union win Vs Oxford University 2018

He told Forces Network he was pleased with the performance:

"It's just good to get the season off and running... [It was a] good test for us first out.

"We've made plenty of changes [and] we've got a big squad going forward, which I'm really excited about."

The Navy travel to Oxford's old rivals Cambridge University next, as they continue their build-up to the Inter-Services.

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