Army Rugby Union boss Major Burnie Burnard is looking forward to “the true test” against the RAF on Saturday.
The two teams meet in a crunch Inter Services match at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium in the Army’s first game of the championships.
After the Navy’s 25-10 win over the Air Force in the first round, Maj Burnard knows a win is vital if the Army are to win the title this year.
He said: “It’s Inter Services. It does not get any bigger going against the current champions and we are thoroughly looking forward to it.
“We’ve worked really hard all season. This season for us is all about new coaches, new ideas and being better.
“Every time we have met, we have been better so Saturday will be the true test.”
Captain Jamie Miller is the Army’s skipper and is expecting a difficult test.
He said: “We are expecting the same thing we get every time we play them, to be honest.
“They have a lot of talented players and play a very direct game. We are doing everything we can to combat that.”
Cpt Miller is wary of the reigning champions’ threat, but hopes to get some revenge for last year’s defeat.
“Whenever we have not performed or lost games against the RAF, it has very much rested on our soldiers.
“We are not concentrating too much on them. We are concentrating on ourselves.
"We know what we need to do to win the game and nothing really changes there.”
One of the rising stars in the Army’s team is Corporal Lewis Bean.
He has recently joined the Northampton Saints and is pleased to be a team who recognises his military value.
“Northampton are a really good team," he said. "Obviously, they have the background and history as well so I think they like the fact that I am a soldier.
“It’s just a good club to be around.”
Cpl Bean thinks the recent move may equal a harder time for him on the pitch against the RAF.
“I reckon some lads are going to come for me but that’s all part of the game really.
“He balances his military career and his rugby really well. I’ve kind of looked up to him and respected him as a player.”