All Navy, Marine Corps rugby team prepares to compete in Common Wealth Navies Cup
By Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
The All Navy and Marine Corps Rugby Team claimed a 21-7 victory over the Oceanside Chiefs as part of a try-out camp at Paige Field House here, Aug. 30.
Thirty-five Marines and sailors are competing to fill 28 open slots on the team to represent our country at the Common Wealth Navies Rugby Cup in the motherland of the sport, New Zealand.
The Chiefs, a division-two rugby team with three division titles and one national title, were the first opponents the ANMCRT have faced since training as a consolidated team.
“We practice and play against each other a lot. It is really beneficial for us to compete against some of the best teams in the area,” said Seaman Urban Iyo, a winger with the team. “Those of us who go to New Zealand will be representing our entire country while playing the sport we love. We need to be prepared.”
For anyone with a passion for this sport, such as Iyo, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I get speechless when I think about what this means,” said Iyo, who has played the sport for 13 years.
Iyo also said it would be a major highlight in his military career and an honor to represent his county during the competition in New Zealand."
The team will continue practicing and using local competition over the next two weeks to ensure they are at their best when it comes time to play in the tournament.
“As competitors we are in it to win it,” said Maj. Russell Strange, assistant coach of the team. “That means putting in the work now and using everything we can to gain a competitive edge.”
The team will continue to practice and compete against the top local teams before representing our country in New Zealand mid-September.