The World Club 7s got under way today in London but all eyes were on the Army vs Rugby for Heroes game as some old favourites returned to the stage.
Plenty of new faces and old faces came running onto the pitch at lunchtime for a friendly game of 7s. The new faces wearing the red of the Army and the old faces wearing the camouflage of the Rugby for Heroes Charity. The game very much went the way of the Army young guns but there was plenty of fun to be had by the opposition.
There because they wanted to support the cause were 12 individuals who either originated from the Armed Services themselves or came from the world of rugby.
Rugby for Heroes is a charity set up to help ex-servicemen readjust to civilian life. It gives them the opportunity to play rugby as an outlet and a chance to rejoin the community. Originally set up due to the link between the military and rugby core values, Rugby for Heroes combines the ideas of teamwork and respect with a community built on friendship and a sense of belonging somewhere.
Several players jumped at the opportunity to represent them in the game today. One player was Ex-Gloucester centre Terry Fanoalou.
Terry, who was originally born in Auckland played for Gloucester for ten seasons becoming a member of the then elite ‘100 leagues club’. He was a crowd favourite and an opposition scourge.
Now, however, he dons a different shirt and takes part in a charity game on the big stage at Twickenham.
“It’s a fantastic cause. These guys put their bodies on the line for us to live a free life and it’s the least we can do to try and help them.” he said “I jumped at the opportunity. If they hadn’t asked me I probably would’ve volunteered!”
“Seeing the guys play, you wouldn’t be surprised to see we got a stuffing! [31-12] They’re fit lads and they’ve really embraced the game. Also, 7s is a lot more physical, but it was a lot of fun.”
Terry is a fan of the tournament having come last year as a supporter of both Gloucester and Auckland. “To see both teams in action on the same day was quite an honour. To be part of it this year is even better.”
This year was no different, even though he was playing. “If I heard Gloucester were playing I’d stick my head out. If I heard Auckland were playing I’d stick my head out again.”
When asked where he’d stand on a Gloucester/Auckland final he laughed: “No, no that’s not fair! Could we have a draw? A draw would work nicely for me.”
Unfortunately for Terry and the rest of the West Midlands, Gloucester won’t be in the quarterfinals tomorrow but I don’t think that will stop him and them cheering from the sidelines.
Rugby for Heroes is truly a fantastic programme. If there’s one thing you do tonight, it should be to head over to here and donate.