Navy head to Headingley
Headingley Carnegie will host the Royal Navy Rugby League State of Origin game for the fourth consecutive year.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has again invited the RNRL is to play their showpiece match as a curtain-raiser and on Friday they will take to the pitch before the Rhinos First Utility Super League encounter with Hull Kingston Rovers.
The annual game is now in its 13th year with the concept seeing the country divided north to south with players based in ships and units East of Southampton representing the Eastern Commands – the Blues – and those West representing the Western Commands – the Maroons.
Originally the fixture was used as a selection match for the annual inter-services series staged in September, however, “Origin” has taken on a life of its own and competition for places is now extremely fierce.
The two 20-man squads have been named ahead of final training sessions in Leeds on Thursday with both coaches confident of victory in the clash which kicks-off at 5.45pm.
Whilst Blues coach Chris Reeves looks for his first Origin win in charge, Maroons coach – and former Rhino – Lewis Taylor is desperate to regain the trophy after losing to the Easts last season.
Although the match is the centrepiece of the day the whole event is staged to mark Armed Forces Day and this year RNRL event organiser Warrant Officer Andy Cooper has arranged for input from all three services.
Around the Headingley complex the Royal Marines will stage their Commando Challenge whilst both the RAF Band and the Band of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) will give formal and informal performances up to the Super League game kick-off.
Once again the Royal Marines will assist Ronnie the Rhino make his now traditional abseil down the front of the South Stand whilst a team from 4Bttn The Parachute Regiment will enter the stadium by parachute (weather permitting) to deliver the match ball for the main match.
Throughout the afternoon and evening there will be a bucket collection for this year’s Charity uk4u.
This unique organisation delivers Christmas boxes to Servicemen and Servicewomen deployed on Operations at Christmas, whether in the Royal Navy, Army or the Royal Air Force, as a gift from the nation to thank them for sacrificing Christmas with their families and loved ones find them at www.uk4u.org
For further information on Origin XIII and much more about Rugby League in the Senior Service visit www.pitchero.com/clubs/royalnavyrugbyleague