England will pay their own special tribute to the Armed Forces and their families when they run out against Australia on November 13 at Twickenham during the Investec Internationals. Both England and Australia will wear special commemorative shirts with the iconic poppy image situated on the right sleeve to help promote The Royal British Legion poppy campaign. Martin Johnson’s men will be wearing their new dark grey and red away shirt for the first time, having previously worn change strips against both The Pacific Islanders in 2008 and Argentina in 2009.
The decision to wear the poppy will help highlight the Poppy Appeal, which this year is focusing on the need to help the generation of the Armed Forces and their families currently involved and affected by the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A range of events have been arranged for the day; a poppy montage will be shown on the big screen during the National Anthems, players will observe a moments silence before kick-off and the Royal British Legion will have 30 cadets collecting for the appeal around the concourse of the stadium.
England Team Manager Martin Johnson is delighted to throw his support behind the campaign and said: “The armed forces have and continue to do a superb job and it is essential that we recognise and appreciate all of their efforts and those of The Royal British Legion. We are honoured to be wearing the poppy on our shirts in honour of those who have died and given so much for their country.”
RFU President Richard Appleby added: “The RFU is extremely proud to have the poppy on our England shirts for the match against Australia. Historically, we have a strong relationship with the Armed Forces and have the utmost respect for the Royal British Legion and the sacrifices servicemen make to keep us safe.”
Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion, Graham Akins said: “It’s great to see both teams coming together for the Poppy Appeal. The money raised will help The Royal British Legion provide direct, practical support for our injured heroes and bereaved Armed Forces families. The past nine years of conflict have increased the need for the Legions welfare work.”
The Royal British Legion currently spends over £1.4million a week – more than £200,000 a day – in its work helping around 160,000 members of the Armed Forces family – dependants, veterans and the bereaved. This year the Legion hopes to raise £36 million towards its works.