Welsh soldiers suffer rugby woe in Estonian forest

Groans echoed around a snowy Estonian forest as military personnel backing their home country realised England had clinched a Six Nations win over Wales.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, currently deployed in the Baltic state as part of Nato's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), caught up on the game huddled around a laptop balanced on ration pack boxes.

Amongst an array of Warrior armoured vehicles, support trucks and Challenger 2 tanks, and despite temperatures dropping to -6C, keen rugby supporters followed the twist and turns of the game.

With some popping by for updates, alongside excited cries and noises as their side came close to scoring, one soldier could be heard telling his colleague that "it's not looking good like" when there was a score query from a passer-by.

Following a day of intense cold weather training and during the half-time break, one soldier jokingly asked what one of the presenters was wearing when making fun of his cravat, to which he added: "He has more layers on than me".

As the clash at Twickenham came to an end, seeing Eddie Jones's side claim a 12-6 victory, a small minority of England fans seemed happy with the result.

Lieutenant Jules Farrow, from Cambridgeshire, who watched the game as one of the few Englishmen in The Royal Welsh, said he had "mixed emotions" at the final whistle.

The 25-year-old added: "Obviously you've got to think about the morale of the troops, being The Royal Welsh, they are obviously disappointed.

"My morale has lifted."

Quizzed as to whether he now has bragging rights, he said definitely not as the English are outnumbered, and said there are "too many Welshmen in the battalion".

Lt Farrow said being able to watch games such as the latest Six Nations clash, during an exercise which spans several days and often keeps them away from the main camp, "boosts morale massively".

The British Army is currently leading a multinational battlegroup in Estonia and is taking a central role in the eFP - established to deter Russian aggression.

More than 800 British Army personnel are currently stationed in the country, marking one of the UK's biggest deployments to the region in decades.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS