'UK Armed Forces match v Wales women on Remembrance Day is something special'
Back row Sian Williams, the first Welsh international full-time female rugby player and full-time RAF elite athlete, looks forward to representing the UK Armed Forces when they play against Wales women in Cardiff on Friday.
This Remembrance Day – Friday, 11 November – Cardiff Arms Park will play host to Wales as they face UK Armed Forces, and there will be a huge significance around the game.
I’m in the RAF and we play a fixture at this time every year. You take the best players from the RAF, the British Army and the Royal Navy and we come together just for the week before the game.
The game is being played to raise money for the Royal British Legion, who do so much work behind the scenes for ex-servicemen and women.
To have the game on the 11th is something special, it’s something we’ve not done before and it means so much to us servicewomen that we can go out there and play against an international side.
As a squad we’ll have a minute’s silence at 11 o’clock to remember the fallen and then before the game we’ll have national anthems, and the Last Post will be played just before we go out onto the field.
For service people to hear that before taking the field is a reminder you are not only there for the armed forces men and women who are still here, but also the ones who have sacrificed their lives for their country.
It really gives you goose bumps and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end just before you take the field.
Footballers’ support is appreciated
There’s been a lot of publicity about Fifa not wanting football teams to wear poppies at matches this weekend.
I think that England and Scotland’s decision to wear poppies when they play each other is nice.
It shows respect for all the people who have put their lives at risk. It shows the respect we have for our country’s armed forces.
It is special to wear that poppy and it is so nice as a service person to see it on the television. Around this time of the year poppies are everywhere and that’s what you want to be seeing.
It should be celebrated.
Chance for players to impress
Gemma Rowlands, Charlie Murray and Bethan Dainton are also in the UK Armed Forces squad so it’s a good chance for Wales coach Rowland Phillips to see more Wales players in action.
Looking forward to the World Cup next year he needs to see as many people as he possibly can.
And we need competition because the only way we can build as a squad is if we’re all competing against each other and everyone is working hard because you’ve got the same goals.
It’s a huge positive that he can look at other players and they have the opportunity to step up.
It’s great he can open doors for other people and I still get the opportunity to play against Wales, which I’m happy about.
Important new roles
The Welsh Rugby Union have just put together three new roles for women’s rugby.
They’re called game changers – one in south east, south west and north Wales – and it’s a significant development.
They are aimed at encouraging participation for women’s rugby within Wales and it’s important that there are roles within Welsh rugby there to grow participation throughout the country – in north Wales as well, which fits well with me because that’s where I’m from originally.
We’re constantly moving forward.
It’s great we have a new home in Cardiff Arms Park – but the Welsh Rugby Union are not only making changes for us but changes for all participation within women’s rugby.
It’s so exciting to see and hopefully some of those players will go on to play for Wales as well.