Marines and Paras set for battle

The Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment are set to tangle with each other on the rugby league field soon.

The two famous units’ rugby league teams will play each other for the Trafalgar Cup, on Thursday July 17 at Hyde Park in Taunton.

The cup is played for in years when military commitments allow. It was first contested in 1998, with the Marines hoolding a 6-5 lead in the series.

The Paras won 22-18 last year in a game held at Colchester Garrison.

The Marines team has just completed a successful tour to Sydney in Australia. There, they played three games in eight days, winning their final game against a NSW Tertiary Select XIII comprising of university student Rugby League players.

Prior to that tour, the Marines retained the Courage Cup by beating the RAF Regiment 42-6, and also drew with the Royal Artillery and Fleet Air Arm.

“This game is the highlight of our season. The tour to Australia was all to help build up to this game and there is always a friendly rivalry between us and the Parachute Regiment,” Marines Team Manager Colour Sergeant Ben Mardle said.

“Getting any opportunity to play in big games is so important to us. Obviously the lads have many other commitments and it’s only a short season so to play in games like this is not just good for the Marines as a whole but for each individual player and their development.

“Some of the lads are Rugby League players but others are rugby union converts so they get a chance to test their skills.

It’s pressure but it’s at home and hopefully we will get a decent crowd so it should be a good day. It’s the last fixture and the pinnacle of our season.

“We’ve had a really strong season so far and played in some harder fixtures than normal, the tour in Australia was against military and civilian teams so it was of a very high standard but we did well.

“As long as we keep doing the things we have practised we are confident of winning the Trafalgar Cup back for the Royal Marines.”

Entry to the game, at the home of Taunton Titans RFC, is free on the day, with gates opening at 5pm.

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