PLYMOUTH Albion’s Jarrad Hayler has been named the Royal Navy’s player of the tournament after helping them win the plate trophy at the International Defence Rugby Competition.
Bickleigh-based Royal Marine Hayler started all the Navy’s matches during the month-long event, which finished in London last night.
In the plate semi-final against Canada, the 20-year-old flanker, who was the youngest player in the Navy squad, scored a record-equalling five tries.
Former Havant forward Hayler has enjoyed a rapid rise in his rugby career in the last few months. He made his Navy debut as a replacement against the Army at Twickenham in May before earning his first start for them earlier this month after becoming a regular in Albion’s first team squad.
“The warm-up game against Blackheath (on October 2) was my first-ever start for the Navy first team,” said Hayler. “From there, I started every game in World Cup tournament and I got confirmed as the player of the tournament for the Navy, which is class.
“It was close between me and Dave Fairbrother, who plays for Fylde, but I got it in the end, which is really nice.”
Hayler, who started Albion’s opening four league games, and fellow Royal Navy player Seti Raumakita have been following Plymouth’s fortunes while away. They will return to Brickfields on Monday and will be hoping to force their way into contention for the club’s trip to Henley next Saturday.
“I’ve just got to get back into training and try and get that number seven shirt back again,” said Hayler.
In Hayler’s absence, Gregory Sebastien and Cameron Thompson have both started two games apiece in Albion’s number seven shirt.