Do you think Thais are Xenophobic or just Patriotic?

Let’s compare attitudes of rugby players towards their opponents in order to develop this question further.

(photo credit.

This image is of a lunch after the referee has blown the final whistle and both rugby teams retire to eat, drink, and chat together.

Those of my readers who have read my book, The True Story of the Welsh Godfather, will recall the occasion when my best friend’s grandfather took us both to a match at Bridgend Rugby Club.

Johnny and I being taken to a local rugby game by his grand-dad. While J.O. parked his Armstrong Siddeley car, we dutifully queued up for tickets to the field. I was 8 years old; Johnny was 7.

He called us both over and bypassed the queue. Johnny’s granddad just said “J.O.Williams, J.O.Williams” as we all walked through the turnstiles unchallenged.

After watching the game, we all went into the dining hall for lunch with the “great and the good”, the club’s benefactors and sponsors. J.O. being the club’s biggest and wealthiest contributor.

Of course, Johnny and I did not take any photos. Neither of us had cameras with us, and we would have not dared to take photos anyway. The image above does, however, show how friendly and jolly the after-match event can be. The players of both teams would be seated at the back, chatting, drinking and generally enjoying themselves. Probably because Johnny’s grand-dad was present, their laughter and joking was less subdued than usual. I learned much later that it was quite normal, after a few drinks, that some loud and raucous singing would start from both teams. Sometimes, a few strippers would be brought in to liven up the proceedings.

When it was time for the All Blacks to return to New Zealand, crowds of rugby supporters and townsfolk gathered on the platform of Bridgend railway station to bid them bon voyage. The local band started to play, “We’ll Keep a Welcome”. The lyrics are very emotional and powerful. Even some of the hardened All Black players were overcome with emotion.

(The video below, by three Welsh singers, is probably the best rendition of the ballad. I apologise for the commercials at the beginning and end of the videos. I could not remove them)

The Haka is meant to unnerve the opposing team prior to the start of the match. I intend making another post about the Haka, with some English translations, and dispelling some of the myths about its aggressive, war-like, tone.

Maori All Backs performing the Haka, and a tribute to the late Sean Weinu. You will see his No. 11 shirt being laid on the pitch before the Haka starts. His widow and two children retrieve it at the end of the Maori war cry so that the match can start. One of the most moving and emotional pre-match ceremonies you will ever see in Rugby.

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