Tomorrow is the biggest fixture in the annual Six Nations rugby championship, when the six main rugby playing nations of the Northern Hemisphere battle for supremacy. These six nations are England, Scotland, Ireland (all of it), Wales, France and Italy.
Tomorrow is England vs Wales at Twickenham in London. Unike last year's Wales/England clash, the winner of this match will probably not win the championship – that is probably going to Ireland, this year. but the emotion of the fixture always makes this, for many of us, the most important rugby match of the year.
And, as i always do, I will be supporting Wales. I have supported Wales since my university days, well before I even lived there.
In England, rugby is very much an upper class sport. My family was working class, with middle class pretensions, but rugby was outside our day-to-day experience; at least in the 15-a-side code. In northern England, the only rugby that really mattered was 13-a-side Rugby League. In Wales, however, it was different. Welsh rugby is the game of the people, and one rubs shoulders with the greats of We;sh rugby all the time. When I lived in Wales, one passed a statue of Gareth Edwards in the shopping mall, if you broke your arm in Bridgend you might have it set by JPR Williams, and when I was a schoolteacher, I taught a pupil called Paul Ringer; when I commented on his famous name, he simply said, “He's my dad!”
Before I even lived in Wales, I had discerned this difference, and while I showed my partisanship for England in football (soccer to Americans!) and in cricket, when it came to rugby, I supported the boys in red, who, after all, had by far the better national song!
So, even though I am not even in Britain tomorrow, I shall do my best to find out what is going on, and my cheers will be for the boys from the valleys, not the private schools of England.