A muddy field in the New Territories is to be the historic setting for a much awaited encounter between British Forces and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Away from the high-brow diplomatic negotiations, ordinary troops from both sides will be able to get the measure of each other for the first time. And while the idea is to get to grips with each other, the two forces will be on the same side in a unique game of rugby set to take place on Monday. The British Garrison has seized on the opportunity presented by the first visit of a PLA rugby squad to the territory for the Carlsberg International 10s. Before the 13-strong party returns to the PLA Sports Institute in Guangzhou on Tuesday it is to scrum up with British soldiers, sailors and airmen in a joint-team to play a touring side from Britain. The hastily arranged fixture is to take place at the British Garrison's Sek Kong base, one of the 14 military sites to be handed over to the PLA in July next year, and is likely to be followed by a social get-together. A British Garrison spokesman said: 'This will be a most unusual and historic occasion. It will be the first contact between British Forces and the PLA at grass-roots level.' Commander British Forces, Major-General Bryan Dutton, said sport could be the key to the PLA's successful integration into Hong Kong society after next year's handover. He said: 'British Forces are well integrated into Hong Kong society and enjoy a happy relationship with the people. A very important factor in that success has been sport. 'We are hoping we can hand over this part of the relationship to the PLA. The visit of the PLA rugby team may help them to understand how sport works here, and how we have made it work for us.' Yesterday he was at the British Garrison's final annual 'Skill At Arms Meeting' at Lowu Ranges, which saw servicemen testing their shooting skills. General Dutton said: 'This was the last one and that's sad. 'But our approach to this sort of thing is that it's a fact of life. History is taking place.'