Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Today marks the start of this season’s RBS Six Nations Rugby, which kicks off at 8.05pm at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with Wales versus England. The town will be buzzing in the evening, overrun with rugby fans in various states of drunkenness but with that extra special atmosphere that makes this such a fantastic place to be on such occasions, even if you’re not in the ground. It promises to be a bit chaotic, but it’s always an extra special day in Cardiff when the old adversaries meet. I’m heading off this afternoon in order to get there in time, and spending the weekend in Cardiff.
The Six Nations is a difficult competition to predict, but I think Wales must be strong favourites to win this particular match as England have had to cope with a number of injuries to key players. However, there is one battle whose outcome you can bet your bottom dollar on, and that’s the crowd singing. That one is always won by the Welsh.
Get a load of this example, from a few years ago which at least gives some idea what I’m talking about. This is the stirring Welsh National Anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers). And if you feel like singing along, here are the lyrics (in Welsh, of course):
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.
Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r heniaith barhau.
Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd;
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i’m golwg sydd hardd
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i fi.
Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad dan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.
UPDATE: the Big Match didn’t turn out quite as I expected. Wales were all over England early on, taking a 10-0 lead. But once they had steadied themselves England began to claw their way back into contention. With the half-time score at 16-8 the game still looked to be heading for a Welsh victory. However in the 2nd half England’s more disciplined approach paid dividends. The English pack, compact and powerful, began to make deep inroads into the Welsh defence and gradually established a stranglehold on the game. Thirteen unanswered points in the second half gave England a memorable victory on a dramatic night. Wales 16 England 21.Follow @telescoper