The combined might of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force rugby teams are set to face the famous Barbarians at Bath Rugby's picturesque Recreation Ground on Tuesday 11th November. With 2014 marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the game has taken on added significance.
For the first time it will not just be the Combined Services whose shirts will be proudly adorned with the poppy: the poignant symbol is also being worn on the Barbarians' iconic black and white hooped jersey. The match at the Rec is a fundraiser for the Royal British Legion and, although its aims are charitable, both sides are fired up for the contest.
Combined Services Captain Dave Pascoe, who has played in every one of his side's matches since he first faced the Barbarians in 2001 – a famous victory for the Forces – knows what it is like to play for both sides: in 2011, the scrum-half turned out for the Barbarians against Bedford Blues, beating the Championship side 43-35.
But Pascoe knows that when he pulls on the Combined Services shirt he carries not only the expectations of every member of the Armed Forces on his shoulders but also the memory of those who have gone before.
"Wearing that poppy on your chest reminds you that you are representing Servicemen past and present," says Pascoe, who faces a Barbarians side looking to avenge their 34-24 loss to the Combined Services in 2013. "It is a big deal for all the players. Every time I play and stand for the national anthem the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I am filled with pride."
Some of the greatest names in world rugby have played for the Barbarians – including the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio and Richie McCaw – and both sides are likely to feature a number of Aviva Premiership players when the squads are announced.
Tickets are available now from www.bathrugby.com/tickets or by calling 0844 448 1865.
Prices are £15 covered, £10 open and £5 for under-18s.
Pre-match entertainment will be provided by the band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.
For this big match we have two hospitality options available.
Firstly, the Premier Lounge will be open for an all-inclusive night of rugby and hospitality. For just £75 + vat per person this package includes:
•Complimentary bar for two hours pre-match
•Two course hot fork buffet
•Covered match ticket
•Access post-match to the Premier Lounge with a cash bar
Alternatively, for larger groups, you can book a hospitality box for this match at a cost of just £800 + vat for the night. The price includes the best view of the ground from your own balcony, hot fork buffet and account bar. The maximum number of guests per box is 20.
If you are interested in either of these hospitality packages, please give the Hospitality Team a ring on 01225 325200 option 2, or email email@example.com.