Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Prince Harry becomes RFU vice-patron

Prince Harry meetd Sgt Barrett
The soldiers were given a standing ovation by the crowd

Prince Harry has become vice-patron of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) at the team's match with Wales in the Six Nations tournament.

Harry also became patron of the RFU's Injured Players' Foundation.

Before the game at Twickenham, west London, he and brother Prince William met five servicemen who had been injured in Afghanistan.

William was named vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in 2007. The Queen is patron of the RFU and WRU.

The injured service personnel whom the princes met have all been treated at Headley Court in Surrey or Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

Sergeant Paul Barrett, 35, from Manchester, lost a leg when he was caught in a blast from an improvised explosive device in 2008.

'Stay positive'

Sgt Barrett, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, said: "It is absolute honour to meet them. The princes said, 'thanks for everything' and then told us how much they appreciated what we have done. It's nice to hear that from them."

The servicemen were given a standing ovation from the crowd.

Asked about being invited to watch the match, Sgt Barrett said: "It is fantastic. It shows us the backing we have and the support.

"Without a shadow of a doubt you have got to stay positive. That's what we do in the military. We are positive people."

Prince Harry, who deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, soon had the injured men laughing as he squatted down beside their wheelchairs.

RFU president John Owen said he was "delighted" that Harry had become to become vice-patron.

"His support for the RFU Injured Players' Foundation will be invaluable in helping those seriously injured playing the game," Mr Owen added.

The princes met players on both sides before the match, which marks 100 years since the two countries met in the first international at Twickenham.



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SEE ALSO
Prince becomes rugby club patron
16 Jul 09 |  Wales
Prince watches Wales lose his cup
24 Nov 07 |  Wales
Prince William WRU's vice patron
31 Aug 06 |  Wales

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