Combined Services November Remembrance Day Fixture

The Combined Services have recently announced the teams who will take part in the Remembrance Day fixture in Plymouth on 12 Nov; two cracking fixtures are planned for this year; the men’s fixture will be against the Barbarians, whilst the ladies will play against the current English University champions Exeter Uni.  Both fixtures should provide the CS teams with a challenge and one in which the head coaches are relishing the opportunity to portray Service rugby at its best.

The process for selection began as soon as the Army retained the Inter-service trophy in both competitions, as well as actively engaging with the respective Head Coaches and Directors of Rugby for their input into the process. Therefore, Doc Cox, as the Director of Combined Rugby, has the privilege to announce the following squads that have been chosen to represent all three services past and present.  Much effort has been expended this year in getting the synergy right for selection between the Single Service Representative sides and those players that may have been on operations and/or have returned from injury.

Mens team:
Ball (Army) Boladau (Army) Budgen (Army) Coghlan (RAF) Cormack (Navy) Dwyer (Army) Evans (Navy) Gillespie (RAF) Huntley (Navy) Laird (Navy) Martin (Army) Mason (Navy) McNally (RAF) Nacamavuto (Army) Pascoe (Navy) Phillpott (RAF) Prasad (Army) Rokoduguni (Army) Satala (Army) Sleeman (Navy) Speight (Army) Tichias (Navy) Titchard-Jones (Army)

Ladies Team:
Garside (Army) Haigh (Army)  Homer (Army)  Knott (RAF) Kuva (Army) Leonard (Army) Magic (Army) Maxwell (Army) McAuley (Army)  Metters (Army) Miller (Army) Mills (Army) Morton (Navy) Park (Navy) Phan (Army) Reade (RAF) Rowland (Army) Sicowza (RAF)  Simister (Army) Stevenson (Navy) Stonebridge-Smith (Army) Vasey (Army) Willmore (RAF)

As the Combined Services DoR it has been Doc Cox’s ethos to achieve strength in unity for all sides that wear the CS playing shirt by reinvigorating representative rugby as the pinnacle of a player’s service career.  This is only achievable by the support of the three Single Service Rugby Unions and Commanding Officers that make players available for selection.  But the final piece of the jigsaw is making sure that as many current and past service personnel are there to support both teams for this year’s Remembrance fixture, as they take to the field to represent us all.

The announcement from the Combined Services will make for a special day for Emily Parks, Helen Stevenson, Matt Tichias and perhaps surprisingly, Kyle Mason, who will all be wearing the CS colours for the first time. 

Last season Emily was the RN Women’s player’s player of the year.  So recognition of her growing talent from the other two Services is reward for her strong performances in both Inter Service matches.  Though the Army naturally dominates the women’s team, Helen And Loz Morton lose nothing in comparison to any player in the Service women’s game.  Helen’s powerful broken field running has regularly given Loz Morton the go forward ball on which her game thrives.  For Loz it is a second CS cap and having recently been selected for the South East academy is further acknowledgement that she is one of Navy Rugby’s most talented players.

For the men a Combined Service team sheet with out the names of Dave Pascoe or Marsh Cormack would be surprising.  Dave will be winning his 13th CS cap and Marsh his 7th.  Similarly Gaz Evans and Dale Sleeman are seasoned CS performers.  Last season Nathan Huntley made a strong impression from the bench and will be winning a deserved second cap.  Likewise Sam laird who missed out due to injury last season but had a great debut in 2011 at Kingsholm.  Another who missed out last season was Kyle Mason who having done all the publicity photos for the game picked up an injury playing for Malta in a World Cup qualifier and missed out on making his Combined Services debut.  His CS cap is long over due, which is in stark contrast to the other Navy debutant in CS colours, Matt Tichias.  Last November Matt was making his representative debut for the Royal Marines.  Since then his star has continued to rise and a strong Inter Service campaign has been rewarded with this selection by the Combined Services.

The Royal Navy Rugby Union congratulates all of them on their selection and is sure they will represent the Union with pride in front of their home Plymouth crowd on 12th November.

By Geraint Ashton Jones
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones