England or South Africa?

I am not very interested in sports. I have never quite understood the significance of the fact that my country is better than your country because a dozen or so of my compatriots can kick, throw, head or bat a ball better than a dozen or so of your compatriots.

Having said that I am aware of how politically significant 1966 was. 1966 was important not just because England won the football World Cup, but that it was won by beating Germany. It was the real end of the two world wars. Had England won in 66 by beating France, Brazil, Sweden or Argentina, it wouldn't have been half as significant an event as beating Germany was.

Every England supporter over the age of 21 had been born during or before the war. They had known the feeling that England had won the wars in theory but had lost out in practice. 1966 proved that England WAS better than Germany.

1966 was also important because it showed that England was a nation and not an euphemism for Britain as had been the case before. England beat the Fritz, alone in 66, without the help of Scotland, Wales or the Irish Unionists.

England won the rugby World Cup in 2003. England has probably more than a 50/50 chance of being the first country to win the cup twice in a row, but even two rugby World Cups wont add up to the significance of 1966.

But yet the thought that England might win is enough to send some of my sport loving acquaintances into fits of apoplexy - including those who claim to consider themselves to be more British than Welsh, they will be shouting for South Africa on Saturday rather than our neighbours who share this island with us. Why?

Gwe, Ceredig and Normal have written about British / Welsh identity recently and have all claimed that a dual identity is possible. Can they explain how this dual Welsh / British identity can also be so anti English?

I have little interest in the outcomes of sporting events, but as a quarter of my ancestry is English and none is South African, I wish England all the best for Saturday.

Which team will other Welsh bloggers support: England or South Africa? Let me know who and why in the comments


  1. Neither. That won't stop me enjoying the game though.

  2. Maybe we might be a little more inclined to support them if they dropped the attitude that we MUST support them because "we are all brits together".

    Apart from Wales I have supported Portugal, Tonga & Argentina in this cup, and have supported against England, Ireland & Australia.

    This choice of countries was based solely on playing style and attitdue and nothing to do with nationalism.

    So good luck to Los Pumas on Friday and Dem Bokke on Saturday

  3. I'm supporting ZA - Delarey is a better song than Swing Low - check it out on youtube.

    By the way I'm ignoring the implication that comments are only welcome from bloggers - that's just incest.

  4. As someone born and raised in England to English parents, I'm supporting South Africa.

    It's the old adage, I support 2 teams: Wales and anyone who's playing England.

    The problem when England win anything is that the media never shut up about it. I read a post on Digital Spy where the writer had switched to S4C's coverage of one game because all the commentators wanted to talk about on the other channel was England.

    In football world cups I have always supported Scotland, for the same reason, plus the fans are better behaved.

    A friends of mine always quotes the time when Celtic were heralded as the first British team to win the European cup. But when Manchester United won it, they weren't the second British team, oh no, they were the first ENGLISH team, and this on the so called NATIONAL news !

  5. A dual national identity is possible only if you believe in the power of illusion.

    A Welsh (British) identity is not inherently anti-English. It is anti-Union.

  6. A dual national identity is possible only if you believe in the power of illusion.

    Well that's bollocks.

  7. This dual identity business is all very well until you have a war ... then you have to chose.

  8. Time was when there was a good deal of sympathy for the Boers in Wales, a minority language group standing up to the British Empire and all that.

    The tragedy of the Boers was that their identity got mixed-up with racism - so that they even ended up disowning members of their own linguistic group because their non-European blood was just a bit more obvious than that of the average Afrikaner.

    Today the boot is on the other foot and most of us ignore, for example, the fact that "Genocide Watch" has classed the killing of Boer farmers as 4 to 5 on its scale of genocide.

    I'll be supporting the South Africans, with little enthusiasm I have to admit.

  9. It pure rugby terms.....it would be the worst result possible for England to win it. I mean relying on a mammoth pack and Wilkinson's boot. I wouldn't mind if England wone and actually played some decent rugby...but they don't. I will take my hat off to them though for showing some grit. Their team also sings their anthem as if they want to too.....which is a lot more than can be said for some others I know.....

  10. I will support the team that plays the best rugby.
    England havent to date - booting points is not what its all about
    From what I have seen the Boks have played a far more open game
    I have no prefered team as I said but I like another coment just acnnot stand the ho ha and jingoism that anEngland win will bring

  11. I hope England win as they are from Britain and I think sport success is good for the general mood. It is why I desperately wish the Welsh football team could qualify for a major football tournament (the real game on grass!).Lots of my mates are routing for SA - and I expect SA to win.

  12. The best rugby team won on the day. The rugby world cup is about selling the game to a global audience and getting young people inspired to pick up the oval ball, sell a few dummies and score in the corner.

    In fairness to England, they do not have the ability to throw the ball around and so played to their strengths. However, the 10 man kicking game which prevails in their club structure is all about winning and has little interest in style or flair.

    The rules need to be amended again to encourage a more open and expansive game, for the sake of the future of rugby union. I would not be at all surprised if England considered linking up more with the celtic nations to try to develop the flair element of their game. France do not need England due to their very strong club structure, so the celtic regions are the only way they can turn.

    I note that the Vice Patron of the WRU was out there supporting England again, which is only natural as he is an English lad. It might pose a problem when Wales play England in the Spring, though.

  13. A win for England would have put the cause of promoting rugby around the world back by years.

    Boring, negative and just boring.

    And every team that they play seems to get dragged down to the same level.

  14. where have you gone MOF is everything ok?