| Sputnikmusic

This weekend is a bumper one for fans of egg-chasing on both sides of the Atlantic.

For the Yanks among us, Sunday night is the big day on the football calendar (of which more later in the weekend). But for we Europeans of the oval ball persuasion, the first weekend in February ushers in the beginning of the Six Nations rugby union championships, fought every year between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and, since 2000, Italy. It hasn’t got the popularity of real football (and by “real football” I mean Gaelic football, of course), but it is a unique event on the sporting calendar here since the demise of soccer’s Home Nations Championship.

As 2011 is a World Cup year, the championship comes packaged with an extra bite this year. As with the round-ball game, the English have taken it upon themselves to set aside the pessimism of the past three years,┬ádisregard all form and logic to install themselves as favourites to win everything in sight. It’s a lovable trait that only the English seem to possess and,with the tournament due to kick off in just under half an hour with England facing arch-rivals Wales in Cardiff, it’ll be interesting to see just how long it lasts.

For the time-being, we’ll have to make do with a comparison of the two countries’ respective singing prowess. Rugby is the closest thing Wales has to a national sport, but singing is not very far behind, and Katherine Jenkins’ regular appearance at the Millennium Stadium before each home game is the one upside to the otherwise dreadful insistence of organisers to have a guest singer belt out the national songs over the PA rather than allow the crowd to make all the noise. Here she is performing ‘Cwm Rhondda Wales’ (also known as ‘Bread of Heaven’) on some TV show or other.

On the English side, we can bin the dreary ‘God Save the Queen’ for once and for all and move on to the far more interesting story of how the generally upper-class mass of English rugby fans managed to appropriate a slave-era negro spiritual and make it their own. UB40 even recorded a cover, as if the song’s journey wasn’t confused and hilarious enough as it was. The lullaby-like tune helped propel England to their World Cup-winning peak in 2003 and, just asfittingly, its mournful tones have provided the backdrop to the most boring team on the planet ever since. There’s no great video of England fans performing the song, so you’ll have to make do with a little snippet and a bit of Johnny Cash to make it up.

Oh, you cheeky scamp, you.

The best thing about Six Nations is laughing at Italy.

who gives a fuck about weak ass athletic bullshast

the only game worthy of a true gentleman's attention is tony hawk's pro skater 3.

"the only game worthy of a true gentleman's attention is tony hawk's pro skater 3"

truer words have never been spoken

go steelers

what the fuck is this Euro bullshit

Wales got their asses handed to them on home ground... Just a shame Banahan didn't show his face and ruin some lives. Also, Ashton and Flood are both on my fantasy 6 nations team. Boom.

Translation: "I am physically weak."

come at me bro im an ex olympic figure skater





Did Scotland only become a nation after Andy Murray lost the Australian Open final, because before that he was British?

"Did Scotland only become a nation after Andy Murray lost the Australian Open final, because before that he was British?"

To tennis fans and the media, yes. To the rest of us, he's always just been a grumpy Scot! I can't work out who has less charisma though; him or Tim Henman.

"Banahan is not international standard - he has power and a decent off-load and that's about it."

Not saying you're wrong, there are far better players on the English team, but he's entertaining enough to watch.

My flatmate's Irish, and he was livid by the end of that match. I think he was verging on having a stroke. They'll struggle to make an impact in the tournament if they continue to play at that level. I think England still have more to give, if they can get the more athletic forwards back from injury and into the pack. France are the best team right now, though there's plenty of time for that to change, they seem to go from cracking to shite and back in a month.

regardless of everything said before England are definitely going to win the Six Nations

ugh cant wait till im back in aus its so hard to keep up with rugby here

"Their all-round game was OK. They created chances but their execution was so poor. If you saw France play - they created very little, but every time they made a break they scored points. Every time Ireland broke the line, there was a knock-on or a misplaced pass. France will destroy us next week unless we can be more clinical than they are."

"I don't really think the forwards were the problem yesterday - Lawes is probably overrated anyway. The English backline is so mediocre. Tindall shouldn't be anywhere near an international team and Ashton is probably two stone too heavy."

I think it'll be a difficult game for any of the other teams if they don't cut out silly errors, England are just as guilty of that. They give away ridiculous penalties far too often. Tindall is one of the last old timers, and he ought to hit the retirement home, but you can't argue with Ashton's acceleration...2 trys speak for themselves, and there's no harm in extra weight if you can still move at pace.

Either way, my predictions for this tournament are now null and void. I should have known better than to write France off after their demolition by Australia in the autumn.

England were pretty solid I thought, just need to play with a bit more width, and cut out the stupid, stupid penalties we keep giving away.

@ klap4music

"what the fuck is this Euro bullshit"

And you wonder why so much of the civilised world dislikes Americans?

Silly, silly boy.

Any doubt that Ashton isn't a world class player has been put to bed now, surely?

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