Navy bid to outgun Army in Twickers tussle

The Navy celebrate beating the Army in 2010 - the last time they won at Twickenham    Picture: Paul A'Barrow
The Navy celebrate beating the Army in 2010 - the last time they won at Twickenham Picture: Paul A'Barrow
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Twickenham is the venue of one big rugby party tomorrow as the Royal Navy look to upset the odds when they tackle the Army to decide the Inter-Services Championship.

Up to 10,000 supporters from the Portsmouth area are expected to make the trip to the home of rugby in what the RFU are predicting will be a record 70,000-plus crowd.

Both teams have already beaten the RAF this season but the Army, defeated only once by the Navy since 2001, will start as favourites.

Navy director of rugby, Andy Kellett, believes his team can cause a shock, however, and lift the Babcock Trophy.

‘We will have to be at the top of our game but we are capable of winning it,’ said Kellett.

‘It is important that we take the game to them and don’t allow them any time to settle.

‘We must look to establish the upper hand from the start.

‘The Army have some talented players and we can’t afford to give them any space.

‘Any team put under pressure will make mistakes and that is what we will hope to capitalise on. Apart from one injury, we are at our strongest and I am predicting a close contest.’

The Navy will take great confidence from their 55-26 win over the RAF courtesy of a dominant second-half performance.

Playing at Twickenham is always special for the players and the Navy are hoping their squad will rise to the occasion and repeat their success of three years ago.

‘The game against the RAF was unusual in that it was a-high scoring game which is rare in service matches,’ said Kellett.

‘The first half was a see-saw affair with each side seeming to take it in turns to score.

‘We got into our groove in the second half, though, to pull away.’

Navy team manager, Chris Roberts, regards it as a wonderful day out and a unique occasion.

‘There is nothing quite like it and it is the biggest date in the services sporting calender,’ said Roberts.

‘The atmosphere is fantastic with the picnics in the car parks before and after the game.

‘It is more than just a game of rugby and a massive family occasion.

‘There were 65,000 at the game last year and a bigger crowd is predicted this time around.’