Rugby League

Armed Forces

22 Aug 2022

Armed Forces to clash in England curtain-raiser

Armed Forces to clash in England curtain-raiser

England’s World Cup warm-up match against Fiji will be preceded by a military showdown between the Army and the RAF on Friday October 7 at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.

The fixture (5pm kick-off) will be part of the annual Inter-Service Rugby League Challenge Cup, which also includes the Royal Navy. 

Tickets are available now here from £15 Adults, £10 Serving Military and £5 for Under 16s. Reserved seats are available in the West Stand and unreserved standing in the South Stand. 

“I think it’s great that the RFL have been able to provide this platform for the Army and the RAF,” said Paul Sculthorpe MBE, a member of Shaun Wane’s England coaching staff who is a big advocate of Armed Forces Rugby League.

“It’s a perfect fit ahead of a game between England and Fiji, given the strong links between Fijians and the Armed Forces, and the number of Fijians who have played Forces rugby of either code.

“I know the England players have huge respect and admiration for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, so they will all be delighted to share the stage with them.

“We want England fans to show their support for England ahead of the World Cup against strong opposition in Fiji, and now they also have the chance to see the quality of Rugby League played by the Armed Forces.”

It is only 28 years since the landmark lifting of the ban on Rugby League being played by any of the Armed Forces.

It has become one of the sport’s major success stories, with the Army enjoying a best-ever run to the Fourth Round of the Challenge Cup in 2020, and the Navy matching that achievement in this year’s competition with wins against Bridgend Blue Bulls, York Acorn and the Army before they went down to the semi-professionals of Batley.

It was Batley who donated the trophy for the Inter-Services Competition in 1994 – while the Army and the RAF compete for the Wing Commander Nick Mawston Memorial Trophy.