Oct 7 2012: Titanic RNZN v RN rugby match in Sydney
By Commander Shaun Fogarty, Contingent Commander
In what would prove to be an absolute cliff-hanger of a match, the RNZN went desperately close to pulling off a rare victory against their arch rival the Royal Navy in Sydney on Sunday 7 October. However, with the scores locked at 18 all, and virtually no time left on the clock, the RN fullback AET Jonathon Humphrey broke every Kiwi heart in the stadium with a 50-metre penalty from halfway to secure victory for the British.
The match started with all the intensity of an All Black test with an inspirational haka led by CPOWTR John Taurua. The Kiwis started well and camped in the opposition 22 for the first 10 minutes and were rewarded with a penalty which saw them take a 3-nil lead. The British bounced back and were rewarded with their own penalty which would see a freakish bounce off the upright land into the hands of a UK forward to allow the RN to score the first try.
The conversion missed 5-3 to the RN with 15 minutes gone. With British forwards putting on a powerful early display, another penalty would see the RN leading 8 - 3 with 20 minutes gone. The early domination would continue with another try by the RN which was duly converted taking the score out to a worrying15-3. The tide turned and the Kiwis stepped up a gear to play some very accurate phased rugby leading to a spectacular try by NZ winger LHST Greg Carter down the right hand wing. Halftime 15-10.
The second half would prove to be a titanic affair with no quarter given by the rival forward packs. A penalty 10 minutes into the half saw the UK extend their lead to 18-10, before another dazzling period of play saw Greg Carter go across for his second try out wide. The conversion just drifted wide to see the score line narrow to 18-15. With minutes ticking down and neither team able to dominate totally, NZ goal kicker, halfback ODR Dane Edge, slot a coolly taken kick to see the scores levelled at 18 all. Fate played its part as it had done three years earlier in the UK, with a last-minute 50 metre penalty to see the Royal Navy secure the win, 21-18
Standout players for the RNZN were prop Karl Furey who would be named player of the day, lock Chris Henricksen with a engine room performance in the tight five, Stevie Winikerei and Ryan Kerrisk with some devastating tackling on defence, and Greg Carter scoring two scintillating tries. Special mention goes to hooker John Taurua likely paying his last match for the Premier Services team. Well done John.
Picture: Hooker CPOWTR John Taurua leads an inspirational haka