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Lessons from the battlefield aim to inspire success for Gloucester Rugby

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 25, 2014

Captain Billy Twelvetrees and the Gloucester RFC team visit the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum for a talk by Major Ben Salt

Captain Billy Twelvetrees and the Gloucester RFC team visit the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum for a talk by Major Ben Salt

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"Trust in comrades is as vital on the Kingsholm turf as it is in the theatre of war" was the pre-season message to Gloucester Rugby.

Dozens of Cherry and Whites players, including new Welsh signings James Hook and Richard Hibbard, heard military-inspired talks at the city's Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.

Serving in major conflicts with the city's 'Glosters' regiment is deeply rooted in the club's history, as many fought and died for their country during Boer War, the Great War and the Second World War. Major Ben Salt, of Gloucestershire's 1 Rifles, and Robert Dixon, the museum's chairman of trustees, delivered rousing speeches which are hoped will not only better inform players of the club and city's heritage, but will spur them on for the coming Premiership campaign.

Major Salt, whose comrades are huge Gloucester Rugby followers, told the players being trustworthy, professional and having the edge over an opponent is also the key to victory.

"A lot of people say there's no 'I' in team; I disagree, because a team is made up of individuals," he said.

"If the enemy thinks they have no chance, and then you have won; it is about destroying hope. And in essence, war and rugby is pretty similar."

Mr Dixon, chairman of trustees for the Soldiers of Gloucester Museum, spoke about the history of the 'Glosters', the level of support for the rugby team across the county, and the importance of respect within the ranks.

He said: "Training for war is not much different from training for rugby with the qualities we are looking for; team work and trust in each other, as well as knowing how to react when things go wrong and are not going according to plan.

"But this was absolutely fantastic and an amazing experience. I was delighted and I hope they found it interesting and useful."

David Humphreys, director of rugby, said the event was an opportunity for new and existing players to learn about the history of the club and city's wartime heritage.

He said: "A lot of us have heard about the history."

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