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Harry joins rugby fans at Twickenham for Army v Navy clash

He met the players from both teams and the referees before taking his pitch-side seat amongst competitors.

Prince Harry has joined thousands of cheering rugby fans at Twickenham stadium to watch the Army take on their Royal Navy rivals.

He attended the clash on Saturday between the senior teams of the services in his role as patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, which is the official charity for this year’s game.

After arriving at the stadium for the 100th edition of the annual match, and after following both teams out of the tunnel on to the pitch, the 32-year-old could be seen standing to attention and heartily singing along to the national anthem, played by the Royal Marines band.

A special message from Rugby World Cup winner and England ace Jonny Wilkinson was also played ahead of the match, in which he said: “I cannot imagine the strength, courage and sacrifice it takes to serve in the armed forces.”

Wilkinson asked those in attendance to applaud those currently serving on operations around the world – and the packed stands of Twickenham and Harry enthusiastically joined in.

Harry, a former Army captain, then met the players from both teams and the referees before taking his pitch-side seat amongst competitors from the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style competition for wounded or sick service personnel and veterans.

As the fixture got under way, Harry could be seen greeting and chatting to the former Invictus athletes, those hoping to be selected for the third games being staged in Toronto in the autumn, and their family and friends.

The military sporting clash at the stadium in south-west London is the final and deciding fixture in the Inter Services rugby competition, which also features an RAF team.

At half-time a pitch side interview was carried out by 2014 Invictus Games competitor JJ Chalmers, as well as two-time former competitor and Toronto hopeful Scott Meenagh.

Harry told the 81,577-strong crowd, that the game featuring the Army and Navy plus the Twickenham spectators, as well as those watching on television at home, is a fantastic way for the “armed forces to come together”.

Speaking about the growth of the Invictus Games, Harry said “more and more people are coming forward” and taking part, and stressed that “mental fitness is as important as physical fitness”.

“What the Invictus Games shows is that no matter who you are, no matter what your background and no matter what your injuries, sport is there and is part of the recovery,” Harry added.

“Friends and family is so crucial to every single person recovering, that’s why days like this and moments like these – we should cherish them.”

As the interview came to an end, Harry could be heard turning to the pair and jokingly saying “to the bar?” before heading back to his south stand lower tier seat for the second half.

With the Army beating the Navy 29 to 20 respectively, at the end of the match Harry congratulated all of the players before he presented the Babcock Trophy to the triumphant team.


From Belfast Telegraph