army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


This is the Army v Navy Match

The annual Army v Navy match is the largest amateur sporting event in the UK often attracting a crowd of over 80,000 people at Twickenham Stadium.  The first match was in 1878.  Since 1907 the match has only been interupted for World War and global pandemic.  What was once a men's match is now a rivalry that includes the women, VIIs, Under 23s and Veterans.  Both at home and when deployed whenever an Army unit plays a Navy unit the game is lifted to a new level.  It is a special rivalry that has its strength anchored in respect for each other as soldiers, sailors, marines and rugby players.  Since 1920 Twickenham has been the home of their showcase day of rugby; the annual Army v Navy Match.  This is why we think it's special.

Our Twickenham Home

Since 1920 Twickenham has been our home.  The RFU have always been supportive of both the Royal Navy and the Army's rugby ambitions.  Indeed before either Union was formed they donated the Army Cup, which is still played for.  They supported the Royal Navy as they pressed for the move to Twickenham from Queen's Club to accomodate the number of sailors that even then wanted to visit London for 'The Match'. 

From the outbreak of the first World War the RFU gave full backing in support of the Services and the challenge they faced. It continued through to the second World War and it continues today. The RFU amended their rules to allow players from League to still represent their Service.  Rugby and Service life share many values and the RFU continues its commitment to honour those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Like the Army v Navy Match, Twickenham Stadium has evolved and today it is the world's largest dedicated rugby stadium.  The perfect stage for Army v Navy Rugby.


Our Finest Military Bands

Army v Navy Rugby has been graced by Kings and Queens.  Pomp and ceremony has always been a key part of the day.  The Service bands only add to the rivalry and what ever your colour, red or blue, Twickenham has reverberated to the music from the best military bands there are.


Parading Our Colours

The role of flags, colours and ensigns within both the Army and Royal Navy can be traced back throughout their history.  A symbol to rally around, a call to prayer, an acknowledgment of battles past, a symbol of who you are. 

The Army v Navy Match gives nod to their historical importance when the Army Cadets and Sea Cadets, the Service personnel of the future, parade the Army Flag and the White Ensign on to the Twickenham turf before the anthems, a moment of applause to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and then, finally, the kick off.


Rugby & Reunion, Family & Friends

The Army v Navy Match started because of the rugby and it firmly remains about the rugby.  But it has become more.  It is an opportunity for a reunion with former colleagues, a celebration of the Service rugby family and also an opportunity to introduce the next generation of Service personnel to the tradition, joy and vibrancy of Army v Navy Rugby. 

Plus it has to include the best choir and rendition of the Queen's anthem that you will hear anywhere in the world!


Army v Navy - Our Rugby Family

Army v Navy Rugby is Twickenham but also so much more.  Each year its starts in the Summer with the VIIs, builds through the Under 23 programme, pops in to check on the Veterans before culminating at the Home of England Rugby where the men and the women take to the field for the right to lift their respective Babcock Trophy. 

The Unions have long held a shared vision, from their earliest forefathers, who provided the impetus to formalise Service rugby, through to the pioneering women who took the women's game forward, to today's players who balance increasingly pressured professional requirements with providing first class sport.  It has formed the strongest bonds of respect amongst the players of the Army and the Royal Navy. 


Army v Navy Rugby

And in the words of Simon Ward, commentator for the 2022 match, "It is very, very, special."


Army v Navy Rugby - Stadium panorama