Twin brothers Lewis and Ryan Taylor are determined to play their part in ensuring Great Britain emerge victorious in the Armed Forces Rugby League World Cup so they they get their hands on the trophy in unison.
The brothers are more accustomed to competing against each other on the pitch in inter-service competitions, with Lewis a member of the Royal Navy and Ryan in the Army, but the former Leeds Rhinos Academy players are hoping success will come to both of them this week.
“It’s really nice to come together and play on the same side again,” said Lewis. “We played together as kids and through the Leeds Academy system but when we joined the forces we went separate ways.
“We’ve been playing against each other since then so it’s great to be back alongside each other and competing for a title.”
Lewis has already experienced World Cup success as part of Great Britain’s successful 2008 Armed Forces side and brother Ryan is hoping to experience that same sensation this month.
“It’s a massive thing for me to be playing in a World Cup,” said Ryan. “Unless you progress all the way through to the very elite level of Super League, the only other chance you ever have of representing your country and playing for a World Cup is through the forces.
“If you don’t make it to the top flight then this level offers you a real chance to represent your country with pride and it’s still a very high level of competition.”
Lewis said: “I’m quite privileged in that i played in 2008. To go to Australia and play on behalf of your country was fantastic – now it’s on home soil it’s even bigger though and especially to be together.
“Home soil is massive for us. In our past four meetings with Australia we have won – which makes us the only international level team that has that good a record against Australia on the big stage.
“We don’t want to let that slip. It’s something we’ve been aiming at since 2008 and there has been a lot of hard work put in by the players and staff during that time so it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Having progressed through the Leeds Rhinos Academy set-up as youngsters, both brothers came to the conclusion that their further within the game lay elsewhere and signed up to their respective forces within an eight-month period.
“I got to 21 and looked at the other lads coming through the system at the same time and realised that none of us had ever really experienced the world,” said Lewis.
“Finance and fame wasn’t something that attracted me – I wanted to experienced the world and see what was out there. Joining the Navy has given me the chance to see a lot of the world and it’s a very privileged lifestyle.
“As a ‘tracksuit sailor’ I’m often away representing the Navy on the pitch and that brings a real sense of pride, both personally and for my unit, with it.”
Ryan said: â€œWhen you’re in the Academy set up and you get to the end of the year, a few people get signed up for the pro level and the rest sort of drop out of the system a little.
“Some get contract at semi-pro, some go on loans etc but it’s hard to fight your way back to elite level from there. I’d always been attracted by the idea of joining the services and when I got released at Leeds it was a natural fit.
“I wanted a different take on life and to experience what soldering was and put myself in a physically demanding situation and it’s a decision I’m very happy I made.”
The public are welcome to attend all Armed Forces World Cup matches. Fixtures onJuly 3 and 10 will take place on pitches at the Budd VC Gymnasium on Berechurch Road, Colchester, with the matches on July 13 played at the Garrison B Ground on Circular Road North.
Entry to all games is free of charge.