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There is a range of top flight action this weekend featuring representatives from the Army’s Men and Women Senior teams.

The rugby starts this evening (Friday, February 5th) with Pte Ratu ‘Siva’ Naulago (Yorks) returning to the Bristol Bears starting line-up for their home game against Sale Sharks.

Bristol are top of the Premiership going into the latest round of fixtures having extended their winning run with a comprehensive demolition of Bath at Ashton Gate last time out, the 45-point margin the biggest win in Bristol’s Premiership history.

Their visitors from the north west got new director of rugby Alex Sanderson’s tenure off to a winning start against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road last weekend, the latest in a three-match winning run that has taken them up to third in the table.

This evening’s game kicks off at 19:45 with live coverage on BT Sport.

Image © Army Rugby Union, Bristol Bears v Harlequins 2020

LCpl Semesa Rokoduguni (Scots DG) missed Bath’s loss at Bristol, but returns to the team for their home game against Harlequins on Saturday afternoon (KO 14:15, BT Sport Extra 3).

Bath boss Stuart Hooper has given the majority of the team which lost at Bristol the opportunity to redeem themselves against the Londoners, but Harlequins will be heading to the Rec in good spirits, buoyed by a comprehensive maximum haul at Wasps last Sunday.

For Bath this is a must-win game. Their record this season is a far cry from that which took them to the semi-finals last term with just the one win from their six games, itself coming at the beginning of December.

Image © Alligin Photography, Army v RAF at Aldershot 2017

In the Women’s game the Premier 15s has a full roster of matches this weekend after a hiatus in mid-January.

Harlequins have a trip to Exeter Chiefs to look forward to, a journey they will make still top of the table despite the points from their postponed match against Saracens having been awarded to the Barnet-based outfit. This is because Saracens lost their first game of the season last time out, ironically enough against Exeter.

Bdr Bethan Dainton (Royal Artillery) starts on the open side, with fellow back rower Capt Alexandra Eddie (QARANC) on the bench.

Kick off at Sandy Park is at 14:00 on Saturday.

Image © Neil Kennedy, Harlequins Women v Worcester Warriors Women 2020

The final game this weekend to feature an Army player is at Twyford Avenue, where Wasps Ladies host Worcester at 13:30 on Saturday.

SSgt Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) is on the bench for this clash in which Wasps will be looking to regain the momentum from the four successive wins which had propelled them to third in the table.

Wasps have not played in the Premier 15s since before Christmas, the Covid break compounded by January’s game against Harlequins having been postponed, again due to the pandemic.

Then again, Worcester have also been out of action for a month since their bonus point win over DMP Durham Sharks in early January, so some elements of ring-rust would be understandable in west London.

Image © Neil Kennedy, Wasps Women v Worcester Warriors Women 2020

Words © Chris Wearmouth