UK Armed Forces Rugby Union Remembrance Match
On Friday 2nd November the UK Armed Forces Rugby Union women’s team played against the South African national team at Rosslyn Park in London in a special Remembrance Match. The home team, composed of soldiers, sailors and air force women from across the ranks, stood shoulder-to-shoulder during the national anthem wearing commemorative shirts covered in poppies and the Thank You logo. In this, the Armistice Centenary Year, it is important that the commonwealth nations are placed at the heart of Remembrance. 136,000 South Africans served alongside British Troops in the Middle East, Europe and Africa during the war. The Remembrance rugby match was a wonderful way to celebrate and commemorate this century old bond in fine sporting tradition.
Under the fireworks displays of Friday night Guy Fawkes celebrations, the UKAF women lead from the start with the first try, before conceding points to a well drilled and established international team. By half time, the Sprinkboks were leading 17-7. The second half saw more of the same as the South Africans increased their lead to a final score of 31-12. But South African victory was hard fought. The UKAF team maintained a strong defence with some bone shuddering tackles throughout. Regardless of win or loss, the story at the end was one of celebration. The Boks led all the players in a round of tribal singing before trophies were presented by the Director for Membership and Volunteering, Emma Cannings. Smiles abounded and it was quite clear that the biggest win was that of commemoration through sport.