Guest Post: 7 Reasons to Watch the Six Nations
If you get your news from 7 Reasons, you’ll be delighted to learn that the Six Nations starts today. We have decided to celebrate this with a guest post.
Our guest post comes from Rachel Simmonite, a 21 year old BA Hons Media and Communication (Journalism) student at Birmingham City University. When she’s not busy gracing Twitter with her wit, wisdom, and frankly astonishing knowledge of club rugby, she can be found writing here.
1. Birthday. This year, the Six Nations celebrates its tenth birthday. Of course, the tournament has been going on forever – in various guises of the Home International Championship and the Five Nations – but this year is the tenth year since the Italians joined the party; with their light blue kit, dodgy hair and sideburns, and their habit of beating Scotland every other year or so, Italy – despite being the whipping boys of the tournament – have always provided good competition. And they have the best national anthem.
2. Rivalries. Talking to an Irish or Welsh friend during this tournament means you get a lot more abuse than normal. National pride and traditional rivalries are all the rage during the Six Nations. Being English, and therefore supporting the red roses through thick and thin while thinking back to the good old days of 2003, you get it in the neck more than anyone else, as every side wants to beat you more than anything. The Celtic teams (Ireland, Wales and Scotland) need to beat you for bragging rights – I haven’t been able to face my Welsh friends for the past two years – and to try and get the Triple Crown or, in the case of Scotland, the Calcutta Cup, while the French and the Italians just like to join in with the English bashing.
3. Something for everyone. Whether you’re after someone nice to look at, or a good game, the Six Nations provides both. The annual desire to beat your local rivals for northern hemisphere dominance brings out the best of the teams, both in the forwards, and the backs. With the return of the rolling maul to the game – following last year’s ELVs* – the forwards can add that extra string to their bow again, enabling loads of fans (either in the pub or at the ground) to go “HEAVE” whenever it happens. As for the backs; as long as they’re running with the ball, it doesn’t affect the precise alignment of their gelled hair, and they’re stealing the headlines, they’ll be having fun.
Rugby isn’t just about the game now, it’s about the totty. Following calendars such as Le Dieux de Stade, the word “moisturiser” has become commonly used in rugby changing rooms, as has the phrase “fake tan” – particularly if you’re Welsh. If I was feeling shallow then my 7 reasons to watch the Six Nations would be very short: Jonny Wilkinson, Tom Croft, Leigh Halfpenny, Hugo Southwell, Brian O’Driscoll, Yannick Jauzion and Sergio Parisse. Of course there are more than seven good looking players in this year’s tournament, that selection are just my favourites.
4. Anyone can win it. The beauty of the Six Nations is that you never know who is going to win the tournament; there’s no runaway winner or clear favourite. I mean, nobody would have thought that Wales would win the Grand Slam in 2005. Likewise, we didn’t expect Italy to come fourth in 2007 – the year when France beat Ireland with a +4 points difference – but that was all that separated them. Of course, with Ireland having won the Grand Slam last year (only their second since 1948), they will be labelled as favourites for this year’s tournament. But on their day, anyone can beat anyone – the Welsh very nearly spoiled the Irish party last year and who knows what the French will come up with, having beaten the World Champions, South Africa, in November? We do know that the Scots and the Italians will probably be fighting it out for the wooden spoons, but who knows? And as for England…
5. The WAGs. Becoming a rugby WAG is increasingly popular – even a member of the royal family, Zara Phillips, is a rugby WAG. The recent crop started with Gabby Logan and Kirsty Gallacher; the likes of Kelly Brook and Una (from pop group the Saturdays) followed for England, with Duffy and Charlotte Church flying the flag for the Welsh WAGs. It is inevitable that if a well known rugby WAG is in attendance at a match the television director will give them plenty of screen time. If not, you’ll be able to see photos of them cheering on their men in the Daily Mail.
6. The singing. You can’t have a rugby match without the singing. The Welsh, in particular, are very good at the singing – it’s like their second sport after rugby. With the likes of Katherine Jenkins, Charlotte Church and that blond one off of the X-Factor to sing the national anthem, Delilah, and Bread of Heaven, they do their singing brilliantly. England have adopted a song that comes with actions, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. I think you have to go on a rugby tour to learn the actions though. Ireland spoil the crowd with two anthems before a match while the French and Italian anthems are just great – I love them – like I love the bagpipes in Flower of Scotland. In fact, I love the anthems more than the bagpipes.
7. The romance. How could you treat your better half on Valentine’s weekend this year? Card? Flowers? Cheesy Marvin Gaye CD? How about a weekend in Cardiff, Paris or Rome? Arrive on the Friday night, take them out for a meal, let them do damage to the credit card on the Saturday morning and then – come the Saturday afternoon at about midday (or Sunday in the case of Rome) – announce that you’ve got tickets for the rugby and enquire whether they fancy a romantic afternoon watching thirty men run around a pitch for eighty minutes?
Of course, if your other half really doesn’t like rugby then you may find yourself in a spot of bother – but it is something that you love…
*Experimental Law Variations