Legends Sign Up for Second ‘Heroes Rugby Challenge'
Some of Rugby Union’s greatest legends will scrum down at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday December 3rd 2011 for the ‘Heroes Rugby Challenge’ supported by J.P. Morgan.
This year’s fixture, which will mark the 10th Anniversary of Britain’s Armed Forces Operations in Afghanistan, promises to be an even bigger attraction than the first Help for Heroes match in 2008, when some 52,000 spectators helped raise a staggering £1.46m for Help for Heroes – the charity which provides practical support for our wounded service men and women.
England Rugby World Cup-winners, Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Leonard, as well as Welsh legend, Ieuan Evans, will manage a strong H4H Northern Hemisphere XV against an all-star Southern Hemisphere outfit, which will be overseen by Australian and All Black World Cup winners Michael Lynagh and Sean Fitzpatrick. The teams will comprise composite selections of players drawn from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere professional game, the best players from the Armed Forces and the pick of the young ‘Academy’ players. None of the players will be paid to play. Coach and player announcements will be made over the coming months.
HHJJ Blackett, Chairman Heroes Rugby Challenge Committee commented: “Over the past months I have received increasing numbers of requests to stage a second Help for Heroes match to follow the success of the 2008 match. Although we live in a different economic and social environment three years on, I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of Help for Heroes, Simon Halliday, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Leonard and Ieuan Evans. They were all cornerstones of 2008 and together we are determined to repeat the success.
“We received the immediate support of the RFU, PRL and Sky Sports and we are pleased to announce that J. P. Morgan has become our Lead Sponsor. The Heroes Rugby Challenge is set for Twickenham on Saturday 3rd December - our target once again is to pack Twickenham and raise over £1 million to help fund the H4H Tedworth House facility - the state of the art, ‘one-stop shop' Recovery Centre for our wounded, for life.
“There is a long history and empathy between Rugby and our Armed Forces and we hope the public will respond by coming to watch a top class match between the hemispheres at the same time as showing their support for our service men and women.”
Roger Thompson, head of UK Business at J.P. Morgan Asset Management added: “This should be a hugely successful event once again and we are particularly pleased to be supporting Help for Heroes - a thoroughly deserving cause. This year’s lineup promises to be exceptional and will attract a fantastic crowd to help raise even more money than in 2008. As a company we’re committed to supporting rugby at all levels and are delighted to be lending our support to Help for Heroes in what will undoubtedly be a truly exciting event.”
Help for Heroes celebrates its fourth birthday in October and the tri-service charity is on the verge of raising an astounding £100m since its launch back in 2007. However, there remains a crucial need for further funding to continue to help those that have been wounded, injured or sick in the line of duty since 9/11.
All the funds raised to date are either allocated or spent on the direct, practical support of those wounded in the current conflicts. To date, Help for Heroes has funded a variety of projects including the £8m Rehabilitation Complex at Headley Court, a new £3.5m treatment centre for Combat Stress, adaptive adventure training through the Battle Back programme and the creation of a £6m Quick Reaction Fund to support individuals in need.
Help for Heroes has committed £100m to support the Defence Recovery Capability which includes the four new Personnel Recovery Centres in Plymouth, Tidworth, Colchester and Catterick. Help for Heroes is still engaged in raising £46million to ensure that our heroes get the very best care on their road to recovery.
Help for Heroes is urging people to continue to ‘do their bit’ by supporting the Heroes Rugby Challenge.
The ball for the match is being delivered to Twickenham by PO Andy “Gibbo” Gibbs, who has walked with it from Tedworth House, which is in Wiltshire, ably assisted by his back-up team of CPO "JC" Cameron-Wood and Lt Dom Black. Gibbo set off on Monday - he reached Twickenham yesterday and met the teams while they were training, before heading off into Central London to display the ball and reward himself for his efforts with a swift half. He's walking with the ball from the Union Jack Club to Twickenham this morning. When the match is ready to start, a bootneck will abseil down the East Stand carrying it (I love it when they do this, I've been at Twickenham and seen them do this myself). Gibbo will then take the ball and, escorted by a bear, walk into the centre of the pitch in front of the thousands who have bought tickets for today's game, to present it to the Ref.