A Tale of Six Nations. Rugby as a Story of Britain and Britishness.

This is a Guest Post by Mettaculture

England 20: Italy 7

Congratulations to England and a huge well done to Johnnie Wilkinson who after painful recovery over three years took less than 3 minutes to score a goal; becoming the highest scoring player ever in the 5/6 Nations Championship at 409 points in total.. Well done also to Italy whose performance was far better than the score shows with Italy’s Alessandro Cariparma being man of the match.


Scotland 21: Wales 9 .

Congratulations Scotland and well done Simon Taylor, man of the match.

Commiserations to ‘the Land of my Fathers’- few Welsh people this evening are looking like this;


The apparent tribalism of this sport and the deep felt wrenching sense of disappointment I felt today as a Welshman has led to this post. I am motivated by Graham’s recent post on Britishness and recent comments on HP threads below particularly ‘it would be so easy to hate’.

I am also inspired by the observations, by left, but not antizionist of the ethnocentric, provincial narrowness of some commentors , who whilst seeming to be concerned about racism and multiculturalism and international issues engage in jingoistic point-scoring.

Last week we read that the British historical involvement in slavery as well as themes of ‘diversity and tolerance in living together in Britain’ would become a compulsory part of the national curriculum in schools. What was underreported, in the Anglo-centric and metropolitan biased liberal press that told this story as one of multi-culturalism and anti-racism in modern Britain, was that ‘the Nations of the United Kingdom’ would also be a required component of these classes.

I have always maintained that so much of what we in this multi-nation state need to know to live successfully in an ethnically and culturally pluralist state can be learned from the history of the four (or is it five?) Nations found on these two Islands in the North Sea.

Now below we have a fascinating, though somewhat in parallel discussion of nationalism, racism colonialism, muslim ‘nationalism’ and cultural and religious identity and the Catholic and Protestant churches and the history of Ireland, Scotland, England, the Celts and the English.

THE WELSH CARP. My lament as it were, is that the Welsh are ignored yet again! As a Welshman with a Gypsy grandmother who grew up 4 miles across the English Border where I was beaten up for being Welsh yet treated as ‘bloody English’ in Wales, I have a particular take on all this.

Only a short while ago the Guardian ran a series of articles which included ‘why are the Welsh the touchiest people on Earth?’ (substitute Jews or Muslims or Irish if you really don’t see the problem). A short time before that my black English boss laughed about the Welsh and sheep.

Now I liked him and am fairly relaxed about these things, but had to explain to him that as an indigenous islander who spoke a language that was ancient when the Romans arrived I could take exception to his comments. If you were a White new Zealander would you say that to a Maori?

This was during the last Rugby World Cup so I took the opportunity to use Rugby as the narrative to explain the relationship between nation, race, class, gender colonialism and the British Empire.

In fact Rugby is the Grand Narrative- the Meta-Narrative that explains all.

I don’t want to spoil the story by telling it all myself, it’s an interactive tale and you have to flesh it all out.

Who wants to begin?

(Suggested Themes; Celts, English, Public Schools, Union/League, the All Blacks, Posh Rugby Totty v Soccer Wives.)

Six Nations Rugby Update

Ireland 17 France 20

In the second half Ireland sustained territorial advantage and took the lead for the first time on 56 minutes when O’Gara slotted over a simple penalty in front of the posts after Imanol Harinordoquy was judged to have come into a ruck from the side.


the second half continued at a frenetic pace and replacement Beauxis hit the post with a long range drop goal attempt which would have put France ahead again. With two minutes remaining the O’Gara landed his fourth penalty to give his team a four-point lead The crowd at Croke park are already celebrating what justly seems to be Irelands victory;


but at the other end winger Clerc ran through the home defence two minutes later for a French try and Beauxis converted to make it 20-17 breaking so many hearts.


Commiserations to Ireland and incredible play by man of the match Ronan O’Gara


On broadband you can watch it live here

The English commentary gave us ;
‘How French to go and spoil the party like that?’
and ‘this defeat might have even more significance at Twickenham in three weeks time’

Why is it that no matter how disappointing the defeat, it is never seen to be as bad as being beaten by the English?