The 23 best players have been selected from the combined might of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force rugby teams, and the squad is all set to face the famous Barbarians at Bath Rugby’s picturesque Recreation Ground on Tuesday 11th November.
Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, this week named in England’s matchday squad to face New Zealand, has represented the Combined Services in the recent past, indicating the talent the Armed Forces can draw on.
With Rokoduguni absent on England duty, the Royal Air Force's Flying Officer Lloyd Owen gets his chance. Owen, currently undergoing his pilot training with the RAF, is a rather more literal flying winger. Owen said: 'It's a real honour to be selected for the Combined Services. Rugby in the military doesn't get any better than this - and the Premiership talent in the team this year is exceptional. The Remembrance Day match is played to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. This, and knowing that we represent those who serve, who have served and who have sacrificed, makes selection mean even more.'
The squad to face the Barbarians also includes up and coming stars such as Navy and former London Welsh prop Gaz Evans, Ospreys Rugby’s Army hooker Matthew Dwyer, and two Aviva Premiership players from London Welsh: Army prop Ricky Reeves and RAF lock Josh McNally.
Some of the greatest names in world rugby have played for the Barbarians – including the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio and Richie McCaw – and, as strong as this year's Combined Services are, they are likely to face an equally formidable line up when the Barbarians squad is announced in the coming days.
This year will be the first year that the Barbarians also sport the poppy emblem on their shirts, in commemoration of the outbreak of the Great War 100 years ago in 1914.
In pulling on the Combined Services shirt Captain Dave Pascoe (scrum-half) will be joined in this year’s squad by his Royal Navy teammates Kye Beasley (prop), Gaz Evans (prop), Marsh Cormack (second row), David Fairbrother (number eight), Nathan Huntley (fly-half), Joshua Terry (prop), Ben Priddey (hooker), Jonny Stephen (second row), Jonathan Humphrey (fullback) and Matt Tichias (inside centre).
The Army contingent includes: Matthew Dwyer (hooker), Ricky Reeves (prop), Darrell Ball (second row), Jack Prasad (fly-half), Peceli 'Naka' Nacamavuto (outside centre), Gerhard Wessels (inside centre), James Dixon (fullback), Chris Munday (flanker), Robert Lennox (flanker), Ledua Jope (number eight).
Meanwhile, the Royal Air Force can boast Dave Manning (prop), Josh McNally (second row), Adi Gillespie (wing), Lloyd Owen (wing), Toby Mann (hooker), and Tim Coghlan (prop).
Tickets are available now from www.bathrugby.com/tickets or by calling 0844 448 1865.
Prices are £15 covered, £10 open and £5 for under-18s.
Pre-match entertainment will be provided by the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.