From Fullback to Flanker – Greg Barden left the Royal Marines to captain England Sevens

G. Barden

Born 8 February 1981, Perth, Australia


635th player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
15 caps
Played against the Army in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
Played against the RAF in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Played against the Marine Nationale in 2011


Inter Service Record (Army & RAF only)

Played 14 Won 7 Drew 0 Lost 7
Inter Service Titles 1

2005 Royal Navy 15 Army 41
2005 Royal Navy 16 Royal Air Force 24
2006 Royal Navy 3 Army 9
2006 Royal Navy 34 Royal Air Force 6
2007 Royal Navy 25 Army 39
2007 Royal Navy 58 Royal Air Force 3
2008 Royal Navy 11 Army 22
2008 Royal Navy 67 Royal Air Force 12
2009 Royal Navy 7 Army 50
2009 Royal Navy 34 Royal Air Force 20
2010Royal Navy 24 Army 22
2010 Royal Navy 73 Royal Air Force 3
2011 Royal Navy 52 Royal Air Force 3
2011 Royal Navy 17 Marine Nationale 10




Greg made his impact on the Navy selectors when he played at fullback for Dorset & Wilts against the Navy team. He was soon drafted in to the Academy squad and from there the Senior squad making his debut in the 2005 Inter Service campaign where he was one of few players to emerge with credit.

He quickly established himself as a versatile back who, in the early years, won represented honours in each of the back five positions. His strong running, strong tackling game became his hallmark not only within Navy Rugby but also first for Newbury and then for Bristol in the Premiership.

In 2008 he, along with fellow Navy Rugby player, Josh Drauniniu, made a try scoring debut for England Sevens in the Dubai leg of the iRB World Seven Series. His sevens career had a slow start and he lost out the following season before returning to the squad the following year and also captaining England in the 2011/2012 season. In total he played in 18 tournaments for England and this would have been more but for him returning to play for Navy Rugby.

Greg was vice captain in the 2010 Inter Service winning team, a season that started with him missing the victorious commonwealth cup campaign through injury, although he helped coach the team, and ended with him causing something of a stir by playing openside flanker in the Inter Services tournament. Not only did this change in position provide the Navy with a fiercely competitive edge at the breakdown but as his record breaking five tries against the RAF showed, it also gave them a real play maker and finisher in the backrow.

Greg Barden – England Sevens and Royal Navy – Image by Getty Images

Greg retired from the XV-a-side game following the 2011 Inter Services and from all rugby in April 2012. He joined a very distinguished club of Navy players who have had the honour of captaining their country and left a lasting legacy to all those who played with him in the famous Navy shirt.