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Match day from both perspectives

Opinion look back at the final game of the six nations and ask what it was like to suffer crushing defeat, or indeed, to experience such euphoria. Alistair Corless and Sophie Charles let us know.

The English

As a proud Englishman, watching the Welsh steamroll their way to a record victory over my home nation was painful. Whilst most of my friends living in England could simply turn off the TV, have a sulk and forget about the harrowing 80 minutes they had just witnessed, I could not erase the result from my memory quite as fast given my location. Like the English forwards at every ruck in the Six Nations decider, I was also outnumbered by Welshmen. After choosing to wear a very bright white England rugby shirt circa 2003, I stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the sea of jubilant red that filled the ground floor of Walkabout where I had watched the game. As what seemed like half of Wales began to celebrate around me, I held my head in my hands and wondered how I had got into this horrible position.

After making plans and getting excited about the Wales vs England game for some time, I woke up on the morning of the match very optimistic about the day that lay ahead. My housemates and I had decided to go into town early in order to guarantee that we would A) get in somewhere to watch the game and B) have plenty of time to drink enough so that defeat for either set of supporters would be easier to swallow (and yes if you’re wondering it did help). Even though the match did not start until five o’clock, that evening the atmosphere in Cardiff was already electric when we arrived in Walkabout for 12.30. In the 4 and a half hours that filled the time between our arrival and kick off we sat, drank and began to get more and more anxious as the tension mounted throughout the club. Sadly for me within 60 minutes of the game gone my hopes of an England grand slam had vanished. Following the final whistle I spent the rest of my day and night shaking hands, slagging of Steve Walsh and slurring ‘The best team won’ to any Wales fan who would hear it.

Although it was ultimately awful to be in the capital of the country that had just trounced my own nation to become Six Nations champions, the fact that Cardiff was buzzing did help take the edge off what had happened during the game. After living in Cardiff for the last two years it has been incredible to witness the passion that the Welsh fans have for their country and for rugby as a sport. As an England fan I do however believe that watching Wales being crowned Six Nations champions is getting a bit boring and I hope that when watching the competition’s climax in my third and final year in Cardiff, I will be the one cheering for a change!  AC

The Welsh

Growing up in England, I was always proud to proclaim that I was Welsh to my peers. However, when I moved to Cardiff, the Welsh insisted that I am English, despite my parents’ heritage. Just to clarify – I am Welsh, Wales is the country I call home , so naturally, it entails that entails that I love rugby!

At home I didn’t have much choice but to watch the matches with my brothers and Dad. But since coming to university I’ve looked forward to watching Wales play, initiating nostalgia and the hope to spot a player around Cardiff, of which I am pleased to announce that I have managed three so far.

When the dates were released for the Six Nations I was sure to book off work straight away for March 16th.  I headed into town, wearing my Welsh shirt and dragon earrings to watch the match in a bar with my family. I work in this bar and I have never seen it so  busy. Nor have I ever experienced such an atmosphere since arriving in Cardiff almost two years ago. As Cuthbert scored the first try in the second half, the whole room exploded into cheers. Just over ten minutes later he did it again, bringing everyone into hysteria. Hugging, jumping, screaming, you name it. When the final whistle blew, there was a huge sense of accomplishment, elation and pure delight.

I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like to experience this in the stadium. It must have been phenomenal. Admittedly, I thought that the evening might have turned into a bit of a raucous occasion but everyone was in such high spirits and my English friends were keen to join in with our celebrations too,despite the occasional banter.

I am proud to call myself Welsh every day, but this day was special. Not just down to the result but because of the manner in which the Welsh put on a spectacular performance, showed key team spirit and pride in their country. SC

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