THE next few weeks sees us concentrating on our brave and noble servicemen with the St George's Day Game and the Army Navy Game at Twickenham over two consecutive weekends.
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We get Up Close & Personal with Private Derek Derenalagi and singing sensation Alexandra Burke, both of whom are involved in the St George's Day Game and are proud to be supporting Help For Heroes.
And now that the British Army Elite XV squad has just made it back from South Africa no thanks to a certain volcano delaying them by a week, we have all the latest news on the Army Navy Game including a chance to win two pairs of tickets to the big event.
Saturday 24th April 2010
THE St George's Day Game at Twickenham on Saturday 24th April is honouring our troops by donating £1 from every ticket sold to Help for Heroes.
In February, former London Wasps, England, and Lions rugby legend, Lawrence Dallaglio, met with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at No 10 to launch London Wasps annual St George's Day Game.
The game, which will be played at Twickenham Stadium against Bath in Round 21 of the Guinness Premiership on the 24th April 2010, KO 5.30pm, will not only celebrate St George's Day but will raise money for Help for Heroes, an organisation that supports service personnel injured in combat.
The match, which sets up a fantastic day out for rugby fans and wider entertainment seekers with a host of match entertainment including headline act Alexandra Burke lined up, will prove crucial to both Wasps and Bath's fight for a play off place in the table. With so much at stake Director of Rugby Tony Hanks hopes the sea of black and gold at Twickenham will help spur the team to success.
Joining Dallaglio at No 10 were Mark Elliott, Chief of Staff who spent 25 Years in the Grenadier Guards and was involved in setting up Help for Heroes, and rugby loving serviceman Derek Derenalagi, who was severely injured in Afghanistan in July 2007.
The trio joined Mr Brown, unveiling the special St George's Day Game jersey that will be worn at the home of English rugby on the 24th April, and carried the matchball that Dallaglio intends to take on his own visit to Afghanistan in March.
Through its charitable links with Help For Heroes and the "Treat A Troop" initiative, the St George's Day Game has gathered the support of quite a few famous faces, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, supermodel Elle Macpherson, and Prince Harry.
Ten days before KO, London Wasps were delighted to announce that ticket sales for their St George's Day Game clash with Bath, at Twickenham on the 24th April, crossed 55,000.
"The squad have been pretty overwhelmed by the show of support for this game and as we see the numbers rising week by week it adds to the excitement around the end of season run. Wasps v Bath fixtures have always been highly competitive, highly charged games and I don't think it could be set up better with both sides playing at Twickenham, battling for a place in the top 4.
"Our fans should never under estimate the impact they have on the game and the positive influence that has on the players - if we can keep that number rising and turn Twickenham black and gold for St George's Day it will be a very special occasion."
The day was glorious as the sun shone, the 60,000 strong crowd revelled in belting out Rule Britannia, I Vow To Thee My Country, Land Of Hope & Glory, and Jerusalem accompanied by the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines and the London Chorus. Alexandra Burke rocked the stadium at half time with her two chart-topping tracks, and a great day was had by all...except London Wasps who were unfortunately trounced by a particularly on-form Bath Rugby 19-35.
To top off a great day, from ticket sales alone, the St George's Day Game raised £66,208 for Help For Heroes.
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Charities Supported By St George's Day Game:
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THE Army and the Royal Navy have been battling for rugby supremacy since 1878. In 1920 the fixture moved to Twickenham to take advantage of the magnificent facilities offered by the RFU at the home of English rugby.
In 2009 the Army celebrated with an eighth successive victory against the Navy. However, this was another hard fought match and the result belied the Navy's commitment and passion. Could 2010 be the year when the Dark Blues turn the tables to overcome the rampant Reds?
An Army win on 1st May would mean nine successive victories but, frankly, the result can never be taken for granted. So often the outcome is wrapped up in a series of imponderables such as morale, preparation and of course operational tours of duty.
Behind the experienced Army front row of Chris Budgen (Exeter), Matt Wyatt (Worcester) and Melvyn Lewis (Builth) the back row will feature Apo Satala now with Gloucester and skipper Mark Lee, a Barbarian and former captain of Scotland 7s. Big Joe Kava is once more available at No8 whilst Fiji 7s international Ledua Jope, just returned from Helmand, could regain his 2008 spot on the blind side flank.
The Royal Marines and Navy retained the bi-annual 2009 Commonwealth Cup at Portsmouth in the Autumn. Three Royal Marines Greg Barden, Rob Lloyd and Gareth Evans made a major contribution to the Combined Services team that beat the Baa-Baas in the Remembrance Day Match in November 2009. The return to fitness of their experienced skipper and scrum half Dave Pascoe would certainly be welcome in the Dark Blue corner.
Year on year the Army Navy match creates the most competitive atmosphere of any encounter at Twickenham. On Saturday 1 May 2010 over 55,000 partisans will urge their team on to victory. Neutrals who attend the match will, within minutes, experience an overwhelming need to take sides and will be rooting for the Reds or Blues.
But it's not just about the rugby...pre-match entertainment at Twickenham includes performance from world-renowned Blake, the Classical BRITs award-winning quartet who's version of ‘Swing Low’ was the Official Anthem of England Rugby for the Rugby World Cup. There will also be music from The Duke of York's Royal Military School Band.
Over at Kneller Hall, the Army Masters XV take on the Royal Navy Ancient Mariners, and the Army Women play the Royal Navy Women. Both matches KO at 10.30 in the grounds of the magnificent Royal Military School of Music at Kneller. Entrance to these games is free but requires a ticket to the Army vs Navy Elite match at Twickenham.
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Charities Supported By The British Army & Royal Navy:
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