Soldiers v Quins in Everest clash

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 16:15
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British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan are planning to play Harlequins in the highest rugby match in the world.

British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan are planning to stage the highest rugby match in the world in a bid to raise money for veterans and rugby charities.

Servicemen from the Household Cavalry are going to trek up Mount Everest and take on English Premiership champions Harlequins in a rugby match on a makeshift pitch in the Himalayas.

The match will be a far cry from fighting Taliban insurgents and tracking weapons caches in the restive southern province of Helmand but the servicemen want to do something different when they come home in September.

"We were looking for something adventurous to do to keep us active once we leave Afghanistan," explained Captain Mike Wilmot, who is responsible for coordinating ground movements on the battlefield.

"We have a lot of rugby players within the Household Cavalry and this seemed like a great chance to do something that hasn't been done before.

"It is fantastic that the Harlequins have agreed to take part and it will be a great reward for all the hard work the Household Cavalry has done in Afghanistan.

"It will be an arduous task as we'll have to contend with altitude sickness and will need to be physically in top shape."

Along the way the soldiers are planning on carrying their own kit, including balls and posts, up to base camp in the Himalayas at an altitude of 5,164 metres (16,942 feet).

There, they will have to clear a dried up lake bed to create their pitch.

They plan to begin the trek in March and, depending on conditions, the match of touch sevens should take place in April in a place called Gorakshep.

The team is hoping to raise £250,000 ($375,000, 292,000 euros) for the Household Cavalry Foundation, Combat Stress and the RFU Injured Players Foundation.

"We hope this is something which will really capture people's imaginations," said Wilmot.

"It will be a great challenge for us but it should also raise a lot of money to help some really worthy causes."