Army v Navy 2023: Men's and Women's Match Previews for Twickenham Showdown - Ruck

Army v Navy 2023: Men’s and Women’s Match Previews for Twickenham Showdown

The 2023 Army v Navy matches take place this Saturday 13th May, with Twickenham Stadium once again hosting the pinnacle event in the services rugby calendar. The men’s and women’s teams of the Army and Navy will battle it out for the Babcock Trophy, and to be crowned champions of the 2023 Inter-Services Competition.

Army v Navy, Twickenham Stadium, 30th April 2022


The Men’s match takes centre stage first, with a 14:00pm Kick Off at Twickenham Stadium. The Women’s match will close out the day’s action, and kick-off at 16:45pm. This weekend will mark the 104th encounter in the historic Army v Navy Men’s match, which has been hosted at Twickenham since 1920.

The Men’s match has been contested since 1907, and was first won by the Royal Navy with a narrow 15-14 victory. The match has been the highlight of the services rugby calendar ever since, and has only ever been cancelled for the First and Second World Wars, and the Covid-19 pandemic. The clash for the Babcock Trophy is rich with services tradition, and last year’s women’s match debut at Twickenham marked a milestone chapter in the fixture’s illustrious history.

Army v Navy, Twickenham Stadium, 30th April 2022

Last time out, the Men’s match ended with the Army retaining their crown, which they had won back from the RAF in 2019. The 2022 match was the first for two years, and the Army ran out victors at 35-27, in what was a thrilling exhibition of services sport at the home of English rugby.

The back-and-forth encounter saw the two sides trade leads throughout, before Northampton Saints star Sam Matavesi put the Navy in front with 10 minutes to go. Yet the Army fought back valiantly, to overcome the late deficit for a memorable win. Two last-ditch tries saw Michael McDonald and Fijian lock Viliame Kotobalavu secure the win, over a devastated Navy side.

Army v Navy, Twickenham Stadium, 30th April 2022

Both sides have already showcased their skills, with warm-up matches and inter-services openers against the Royal Air Force. The Navy were first to do battle with the RAF, in abysmal conditions at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields Stadium. The 13-13 draw was a rare stalemate for the servicemen, with Army doing one better in their match with the sky-blues.

The Army recorded a resounding 48-17 victory over the RAF at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium last month, keeping confidence high into this Saturday’s clash. The Navy have since got back to winning ways, with a 35-28 victory over National League One outfit Taunton Titans presenting their ever-present squad depth. This marked the final stop on the road to Twickenham, with both sides prepared to take to the pitch at ‘HQ’, and write the next chapter of this historic rivalry.

The Men’s and Women’s Army v Navy matches will be livestreamed on the BFBS YouTube Channel, for those services rugby fans who are unable to attend the event. For supporters who are attending the fixture, please be sure to keep up to date with the latest planned rail strikes, to minimise disruption to your day.


15. Maj William Reeve 14. Spr Cameron McDonald 13. Rfn Vereimi Qorowale 12. Capt Giles Bromley-Martin 11. Sgt Connor O’Reilly 10. Bdr Owain Davies 9. 2Lt Alexander Gliksten 1. Sgt Nathanael Titchard-Jones 2. Bdr Peter Austin 2. Sgt Gareth Smith 4. LBdr Josaia Visei 5. LCpl Koroinivuku Vereti 6. Capt Stu Cross (C) 7. Capt Samuel Ackers 8. Gnr Senitiki Nayalo

16. LCpl Epeli Kotobalavu 17. LCpl Stephen Jenkinson 18. Bdr Scott Westwood 19. Pte Viliame Kotobalavu 20. LCpl Ifereimi Boladau 21. Spr Michael McDonald 22. Spr Jack Johnson 23. 2Lt Frank Kelly

Capt Jamie Miller Joint Helicopter Command Aviation Warfare Branch of Army lifts the Babcok Trophy after they win the Army v Navy match


15. MNE Craig Duncan 14. AET Jerome Rudder 13. Surg Lt Henry Hughes RN 12. MNE Setareki Raumakita 11. POAET Ben Chambers 10. AET Jordan Gott 9. AET Dan Rutter 1. POAET Kye Beasley 2. MNE Rhys Williams 3. LA(AH) Ben Watson 4. Lt Ryan Boulton RN 5. Cpl Edd Pascoe 6. AB(Logs) Sam Matavesi 7. Capt Jarrard Hayler RM (Captain) 8. Cpl Ratu Vakalutukali

16. CSgt Gaz Evans 17. ETME Dom Cleverley 18. MNE Toby Papp 19. Lt Mitchell Spencer 20. MNE Will Scott 21. LAET Sam Carter 22. AB(AWW) Jake Hanley 23. MNE Henry Gliddon


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. 30th, Apr 2022. during Women’s Army vs Royal Navy for the Babcock trophy at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 30 April 2022. LONDON ENGLAND. Credit: Taka Wu/Alligin UK

The 2023 Army v Navy Women’s match is also sizing up to be an exciting encounter, with the stage set for the servicewomen to close out the show at Twickenham. Last time out, the Army and Navy Women met in a historic first-ever encounter at Twickenham Stadium.

The result was a one-sided victory in favour of the Army, as a dominant 68-0 landslide solidified the Army Women’s place as the apex services rugby side. The whitewash saw a hat-trick from Courtney Pursglove, a pair of braces for Sally Stott and Bethan Dainton, as well as additional tries from Louise Dodd and Sarah Batley.

Army v Navy, Twickenham Stadium, 30th April 2022

However, the Navy are a side on the up, and have improved since the one-sided defeat. They showed great promise in their opening 2023 inter-services contest against the RAF, and got significant points on the board against the Air Force. The RAF came away victorious at 32-15, as their international stars took the RAF into a higher gear than which the Navy could reach.

The Army look as strong as ever, and ran roughshod on the RAF with a 36-8 triumph at Kingsholm Stadium. Winger Courtney Pursglove once again led the Army from the front, with two outstanding tries. Pursglove also kicked enough daylight between the two services sides, for a memorable win. This win was ever the more impressive as Red Roses star Amy Cokayne and Welsh international Carys Williams-Morris lined up for the RAF.

Pte Courtney Pursglove Royal Logistic Corps of Army completes her hat-trick with her 3rd try

The Army are undoubtedly favourites heading into the Women’s match, but the Royal Navy should never be counted out, in this exciting conclusion to the 2023 Inter-Services competition.


15. Sgt Louise Dodd 14. Pte Courtney Pursglove 13. SSgt Jade Mullen (C) 12. Gnr Amy Carr 11. Gnr Charlotte Tweddle 10. LCpl Millie Williams 9. Cpl Charlie Morgan 1. Sgt Sarah Batley 2. WO Rae Metters 3. SSgt Natalie Lewis 4. Sgt Heidi Silcox 5. Capt Colette Broome 6. Maj Chantelle Miller 7. Bdr Bethan Dainton 8. Lt Sally Bellhouse

16. Pte India King 17. Tpr Holly Beacom 18. Sgt Mariette Claassens 19. Spr Lauren Brooks 20. Maj Anneka Willis 21. Gdsm Manuqalo Komaitai 22. 2Lt Hannah Gilmour 23. Gnr Jess McAuley

The Army celebrate a comprehensive victory over Navy


15. LPT ERI Suz Badger 14. Bug Bronagh Gibb 13. ET Sian McLaughlin 12. LH Rose Dixon (C) 11. LT Abigail Ashby 10. PO Samantha Alderson 9. SLt Rhian Perry 1. Mid Rosie Staples 2. SLt Rebecca Addis 3. AET Lucy Honeybell 4. Wtr Olivia Fifita 5. AH Yvonne Mealy 6. Lt Olivia Critchly-Peddle 7. QARRNS-Nursing Rowan Sinclair 8. AWW Laika Swain

16. LDN Keira Gavan 17. ETME Ellen Bloxham 18. ETWE Gemma Flowers 19. ETME Heather Addison-Prout 20. ETWE(CIS) Elona Bythell 21. AB Evangeline Horne 22. Surg Lt Cdr Emma Maxwell 23. Wtr Daisy Lumsden