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July 7, 2011
Smith pushes for ASRU spot
By Michael Brooke
and Simon Gladman
NAVY Breakers' prop-forward
ABATV James Smith believes he
has given himself the best chance of
impressing selectors of the Australian
Services Rugby Union (ASRU) team
because of his bumper season.
As one of Navy's 'fab four' group
of forwards, ABATV Smith is hopeful
of winning a call-up into the nation-
al team to take on 11 other nations
at the International Defence Rugby
He said the depth of talent within
the Navy team meant many warranted
Navy players are likely to feature
prominently in the team, expected to
be announced in August ahead of the
event in Australia and New Zealand
running from late September through
The 23-year-old, based at RAAF
Richmond, was instrumental in help-
ing NSW Country to a stunning
17-14 half-time lead against players
from Sydney's glamour clubs on the
Queen's Birthday long weekend in
However, the chance of an upset
vanished in the second half as Sydney
ran away with a 42-17 win.
ABATV Smith, who previous-
ly represented ASRU at the Pacific
Nations Tournament, said competi-
tion for a spot in the ASRU team was
intense, especially for the front row.
"I don't want to say I'm confident.
Rather than being confident, I feel I've
done everything I could have done to
be considered," he said.
"I would be glad to get the call.
I would be looking forward to play-
ing teams like the British, French and
"With the rest of the [Navy] team,
there's a lot of talent. There are a cou-
ple of guys who are new on the scene
and, hopefully, they've done enough at
nationals to get a gig."
ABATV Smith, who played a big
part in Navy's triumph over Army in
the inter-service championships in
May and toured New Zealand with
RANRU in June, was confident his
body would hold up well despite hav-
ing his "biggest" ever season.
He came of age in the ABC-
televised NSW Country-City clash,
setting the early pace for his team with
ferocious running and tackling.
"It was a great match and we were
IN REACH: ABATV James
Smith is one of Navy's lead-
ing contenders pushing for
ASRU head coach CAPT Damien
Cahill likes what he sees of Navy
personnel vying for selection in
the national team to contest the
International Defence Rugby
"I've been tracking the RANRU
boys very closely. It could reasonably
be expected that at least a dozen of
RANRU's squad will feature strongly
in the final ASRU squad," he said.
CAPT Cahill said ABATV James
Smith was shaping to be a pivotal
figure in the national squad, given
the level of competition he has been
exposed to since the ASRC and his
He was also impressed by the
likes of PO Damien Tanaka and LS
Adam Powell, particularly as they
were playing out of position, RANRU
captain PO Jason Harrington, AB Tait
O'Sullivan, SMN Daryl Seden and AB
"My favourite at the moment is
AB Dan Robertson. This lightweight
flanker plays about 20 kilograms
above his weight. He is amazingly
quick, tough and resilient, and has
an incredible impact in most games.
Fittingly, he was named player of
the tournament at the ASRC," CAPT
A squad of about 60 players from
across the Services will be narrowed
down to 35 after an internal trial match
on August 17, with preparations to
ramp up through September.
Navy's best impress
the underdogs, so we were pretty
pleased with the half-time result. I was
very proud to have been selected in the
starting 15 NSW Country players," he
said.ASRU head coach CAPT Damien
Cahill, who attended the match at
Coogee Oval, said ABATV Smith
acquitted himself well despite the
increased speed of the game.
ABATV Smith has played Navy
rugby for the past five years and mod-
els his playing style and scrimmaging
on Wallaby Ben Alexander and Navy's
POPT Matt Hilyard.
ABATV Smith said playing for
Navy had opened many opportunities,
especially overseas trips, and he urged
all RAN personnel to have a go.
"Rugby has been very good to me.
But you never know what you can
achieve as an individual or as a team
member until you try," he said.
IN THE MIX: LS Adam Powell, pic-
tured in action at the inter-service
championships in May, is in the
sights of ASRU head coach CAPT
MAKING the finals of the men's
e-double scull at the Australian
Masters Rowing championships
was a victory in itself.
LCDR Fisher, rowing with Darrell
Ninham, placed fourth for one of
the Defence Rowing Association's
(DRA) best results at the champion-
ship event held at Lake Barrington in
Tasmasnia in early June.
"There were around 900 com-
petitors at the regatta, with many ex-
Olympians and national champions
competing, so you knew when you
lined up on the start line you had to
go hard for 1000 metres and hope for
the best," LCDR Fisher said.
The DRA's Mixed Masters c-quad
scull team, which included CPO
Andy Horsburgh, also placed fourth.
Newly formed, the DRA aims
to create a network of rowers, of all
ages and abilities, within Defence
DRA coordinator BRIG Alison
Creagh said Defence personnel and
civilians were encouraged to row
with affiliated clubs across Australia
and also represent DRA.
SO FAR, SO CLOSE: LCDR Kym Fisher and Darrell Ninham compete
at Lake Barrington.
Photo: Supplied by http:dalecummingphotos.net
Biathlon team recruiting
APPLICATIONS are open for the
Navy Nordic and Biathlon team,
which will participate in the Navy
and inter-service championships
from August 1-12. Team manager
WO Ian Waller said the Navy team
welcomed new participants. The first
week will be dedicated to teaching
skiing and marksmanship skills, and
then combining the disciplines. The
Navy Nordic Skiing and Biathlon
Association (NNSA) will select a
team of 24 to compete. For more
information, contact WO Waller
on (03) 5931 5265 or navysport.
Masters miss in finals
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