Whilst this is new territory for the RNRL Women it is the 18th staging of the Men’s fixture dating back to 2002 and we are grateful once again to QinetiQ for their continued support of this event.
The original concept was to provide a full contact, competitive internal RNRL fixture for the coaching staff to look at those players in the frame for inclusion in the seasons Inter Services Squads. Since those early days the fixture has taken on a life of its own and means far more to the Maroons and Blues players than was originally envisaged. The rivalry between the Maroons from the Western Commands and the Blues of the East has developed into one of the fiercest in any sport across the services to the point where there are rumours that players who have ‘crossed the border’ due to assignments have refused to play for their new commands Colour!
The early years of the competition were dominated by the Blues of the East winning the first 7 meetings before the Wests took their maiden title in 2009. Of late however the Maroons have come into their own and have alternated wins with the Blues in recent years. This year the Blues will be all out to prevent the Wests from securing a hat trick of wins having triumphed at Headingley in 2017 and at last year’s match staged at Petersfield RFC
Besides the players on the field the Origin fixture gives up and coming Coaches invaluable experience of a big match environment so good luck to Wests Coach Steve Riley and to Easts Coach Darren Bamford. The coaches are supported by their respective Assistants, Managers and Physios, for the Wests Silivenuisi Buinimasi, Chris Hutchinson and Heidi Oliver whilst for the Easts its James Parry, Steve ‘Blue Blood’ Penberthy and Mark Povey.
The Men’s match will kick off at 4pm with the Women’s fixture kicking off at 2:45 pm, both matches to be played on the pitch directly in front of the Wardroom at HMS Excellent. Spectators are more than welcome to this highlight of the RNRL Calendar however entry to HMS Excellent is open only to those with Service I.D or valid MOD Civilian passes. Non-Pass holders are welcome but must be accompanied by valid pass holders.