Who will win this time?!
And once again the Wales v England match in the six nations could be the pivotal game of the tournament. Once again harmony is threatened in my household! The team that runs out the victors are well set up for a tournament win and with such a history behind the fixture it is always going to be a great match.
Wales have played England in a Rugby Union setting 127 times with 12 encounters ending in a draw, 57 wins to Wales and 58 wins to England. A score sheet that will only take one Wales win to become completely even. The teams this year seem just as equal, with the added fizz of having childhood friends Billy Vunipola and Taulupe Faletau both being a crucial components of each opposing team. Saying that though, when Jeremy Guscott says he thinks Wales will edge a win, even with England having home advantage, you have to think that Wales have the upper hand going into the encounter.
Growing up in the south of England, to be honest the England v Scotland and definitely England v France were the fixtures that loomed large in the emotional stakes and it wasn’t until I moved to Wales that I came to appreciate the strength of feeling that the Wales v England match engendered and how ingrained the friendly* rivalry was in the rugby culture.
*Overall friendliness is one of the most appealing aspects of being a rugby supporter. Yes there’s banter but at the end of the day we all just want to enjoy a good, clean game of rugby!
In recent years the importance of the Wales v England fixture seems to have permeated throughout the consciousness of many nations that don’t necessarily have a history of being involved with the game. My Facebook has unsurprisingly been packed with posts about the build up to the match but one thing that really caught my eye was a video featured in a BBC news article. Erin Richards, one of the stars of the hit TV series Gotham, was filmed reading a translation of the poem What is Man? By Welsh poet Waldo Williams. Her rendition is powerful and when put together with some great rugby footage of players, managers and supporters, the potency and weight of sporting history really hits home.
Butterflies in the stomach doesn’t cover at all what I will be feeling tomorrow afternoon and I am just watching the match on telly! Let’s hope for a clash that lives up to the hype, a good ref day from Craig Joubert (a shame Nigel Owens can’t do it!) and that the best team on the day triumph.