AN AMMANFORD sailor has been selected to represent the armed forces at this month's Service's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Gareth John Rees has been chosen to play for the UKAF (UK Armed Forces) team, made up of the best players from the army, navy and RAF sides.

The scrum half is one of 27 players heading out to Japan this week.

A former U23 rugby player of the year for the Royal Navy, Gareth started his rugby career with Ammanford Juniors.

The former Ysgol Dyffryn Aman pupil turns 25 during the World Cup and his selection for the UKAF side is a cause for great pride from his family.

Gareth's mum, Linda Rees said: "We were over the moon for him when we found out he had made the squad.

"He is absolutely delighted to be head out there.

"We are so so proud and really excited to be going over to support him.

"I don't know if there are many parents going out, but there is no way we would miss it for the world.

"It will be an experience, and one I'm not sure any of us would have gotten if not for this.

"He had only just joined the Navy when the last World Cup was held, so missed out on that, but it is great that he has the chance to go now that this one has come around."

Gareth has played four games for the UKAF side, who meet on a couple of occassions each year for games against the likes of Bristol and Bath.

However, he is no stranger to the big occasion, having previously come on as a substitute in the annual Army vs Navy game at Twickenham in front of 82,000 people in 2016.

The 24-year-old, who began playing rugby with Ammanford Under 8s before moving on to represent the Scarlets at Under 16 and Under levels, has been described as “the heartbeat” of the Navy side.

Before embarking on a career at sea, the livewire scrum-half turned out for Llandovery in the Principality Premiership, but the call of the ocean turned his head seaward.

He enlisted in April 2015 and passed out after basic training in June of that year.