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HMS Sultan rugby team compete in Benidorm 7’S tournament 2017

30 June 2017
Rugby Union players from HMS Sultan, Gosport, travelled to Spain recently in order to compete with first-class teams from across the nations at the Benidorm International Rugby 7’s tournament.

Eleven players from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival School (RNAESS) took part in the competition, under the stewardship of Team Coach, Chief Petty Officer John Manners and Team Manager, Leading Physical Trainer James ‘Jonno’ Johnson.

Competing at the 3,000-seat Villajoyosa stadium, the players enjoyed a challenging but rewarding weekend, with almost every team either an International Rugby Sevens or a team made up of semi-pro and professional players.

Taking into account the standard of competition and the busy tempo of the core engineering training at Sultan I think we have performed exceptionally well.

LPT Johnson

The first day of the Tournament was a real eye-opener for Sultan with Royal Navy Sharks player Leading Air Engineering Technician Chambers captaining the team against several International Sevens Teams through one victory and two losses.

On the second day of the Tournament Sultan opened up the Men’s Gold Cup Quarter Finals against Shamdong, a professional Chinese team who had won another International Tournament in the previous month.  This time Petty Officer Andrew “Taff” John held the captain’s armband as Chambers had sustained an injury during the previous day.

Sultan were well organised throughout, with some exceptional tackles from PO John and runs from Engineering Technician Marine Engineering Charlie “Rigsy” Rigelsford causing the opposition significant problems. With the middle of the pitch shut off, it was the raw speed of the Chinese wing backs that proved the difference and allowed them to claim victory.

For Sultan’s final match of the Tournament, the team came up against a team from Moldova.  Again the players put in some great performances throughout a very physical match managing to keep the Moldovans on their toes with bursts of pace from the backs.  Unfortunately the end result was another loss for Sultan but the players left the pitch with their heads held high.

After watching the remainder of the competition, the Tournament concluded with Shamdong the overall victors and after the presentation of prizes Sultan’s players were able to mix with players from the other teams at the end of tournament party.

At the end of the Tournament, Team Manager LPT Johnson said: “This was a great learning experience for so many of our players. The quality of opposition has been really high and on arrival CPO Manners even commented that he had seen several of the players from the Viator Barbarians playing at Twickenham in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final only the previous weekend!”

“Taking into account the standard of competition and the busy tempo of the core engineering training at Sultan I think we have performed exceptionally well. Though we won’t return with any silverware, HMS Sultan RFC will undoubtedly be stronger and more effective for it.”

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