"Stand to Attention" 5 Rugby Stars in the Armed Forces - Ruck

“Stand to Attention” 5 Rugby Stars in the Armed Forces

The 2023 Inter-services Rugby Championship is well underway, with the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force battling it out in the annual competition, to be crowned Britain’s best armed forces rugby side.

The Army v Navy showdown is the final match on the calendar, and will take place on May 13th at Twickenham Stadium.

Despite this being an amateur tournament on paper, the matches are of the highest quality, and often feature professional rugby players within the ranks of each squad.

Here are the five internationally capped rugby players, who also serve in the Army, Navy or the RAF.

  1. Semesa Rokoduguni – Army
Semesa Rokoduguni of Bath Rugby completes a lap of honour on his last home Bath Rugby appearance during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bath Rugby and London Irish at the Recreation Ground on 21 May 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Lance Corporal Semesa Rokoduguni is arguably the most recognisable player to have worn the famous red of the Army rugby team. The versatile back has lit up the Gallagher Premiership for the past decade, having spent 10 years with Bath and making over 150 appearances. The 35-year-old also achieved international recognition with England, making four caps between 2014 and 2017.

Rokoduguni made his international debut in England’s Stuart Lancaster era, as he took on the All Blacks in the Autumn series. Upon making this achievement, the winger became the first serving Army soldier to play for England since hard-hitting back-rower Tim Rodber in 1999. Rokoduguni has made 13 Senior XV Army caps, and has represented the coveted UK Armed Forces three times, who are the equivalent of the British Lions to the services.

Semesa Rokoduguni of Bath Rugby is tackled by Ioan Lloyd of Bristol Bears but dives for the line and goes over for a try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bath Rugby and Bristol Bears at the Recreation Ground on 5 March 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

‘Rocco’ has seen frontline service, as a tank driver and gunner in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently serves with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, who through the Royal Scots Greys, are the oldest surviving Cavalry Regiment of the Line in the British Army. After leaving Bath at the end of last season, Rokoduguni has stepped away from Army rugby duties, and is playing his rugby in France’s D2 division. He signed for US Montauban, who are based in Occitania region of Southern France.