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UK Armed Forces Women KO France Militaire Rugby Feminin official badge KO FT

Results

TeamDGConversionsPointsOutcome
UK Armed Forces Women0027Win
Equipe de France Militaire Féminine0014Loss

Review

Preview

The UK Armed Forces women’s rugby union team are back in action this month for the first time since 2018 – and you can watch it LIVE.

A match against the French Forces will be broadcast on the Forces News Facebook page.

The action kicks off at 19:00 on 29 September 2021.

The match will be played at the United Services Sports Ground in Burnaby Road, Portsmouth.

This is the first UKAF women’s match since November 2018 when the team was beaten by South Africa.

It’s their fifth contest since 2015, with the team still looking for their first win.

by Matt Merritt from inthecheapseats.co.uk

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, Carys Williams 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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

Officials

Ref
Nikki O’Donnell (RFU)

UK Armed Forces Women

# Player Position TRY CON PEN DG YC RC
15Sarah GrahamFull Back010000
14Carys WilliamsWing000000
13Jade MullenCentre000000
12Louise DoddCentre000000
11Fionidi ParkerWing100000
10Daisy FaheyFly Half000000
9Lucy NyeScrum Half000000
1Rebekah WilsonProp000000
2Amy CokayneHooker300000
3Sarah BatleyProp000000
4Emma TadmanLock000000
5Erica MillsLock000000
6Sian WilliamsBack Row000000
7Bethan DaintonBack Row000000
8Sally StottBack Row100000
16Daniker WilmoreProp000000
17Natalie KnottBack Row000000
18Yasmin SuerHooker000000
19Elise FletcherBack Row000000
20Olivia Critchley-PeddleScrum Half000000
21Rose Dixon-000000
22Nicole Burger-000000
 Total 510000

Equipe de France Militaire Féminine

# Player Position TRY CON PEN DG YC RC
15Adeline CarrasquetFull Back000000
14Mathilde DurandWing000000
13Coralyne VittetCentre000000
12Lea ShaurlyCentre100000
11Celine BaucheWing000000
10Pauline GaiateaFly Half110000
9Jodie RomeroScrum Half000000
1Emeline LouvetProp000000
2Charlene DuffortHooker000000
3Rkya Ait LahbibProp000000
4Stephanie ManleyLock000000
5LIsa PepeinjakLock000000
6Yolande AbessoloBack Row000000
7Sonia IrigoyenBack Row000000
8Lilya BouaoimateBack Row000000
16Lisa Pointu-000000
17Abire TemimiProp000000
18Charlene WalterLock000000
19Angelique BroussetLock000000
20Marion SteinerProp000000
21Cyrielle HinardWing000000
22Audrey BarutCentre000000
23Margaux AuvinetFly Half000000
 Total 210000
TRY
5
2
CON
1
1
PEN
0
0
DG
0
0
YC
0
0
RC
0
0

Details

Date Time Season
29/09/2021 7:00 pm 2021-22

Venue

United Services Recreation Ground
United Services Recreation Ground, Portsmouth, PO12
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