Have you ever wondered what the greatest rivalry in all of rugby is? Well it would have to be a rivalry steeped in history, steeped in decades even centuries of anger and passion. It would have to be a rivalry so intense that if the team you supported lost you’d seriously consider phoning in sick for work the next day. A clash of titans, underdog meets the favourite, the apprentice finally takes on his master. This kind of rivalry right? Thats exactly what we have with Wales Vs England. This epic clash of the titans of the Northern hemisphere never disappoints.
If you read my previous articles you will understand why this rivalry is so intense. But incase you didn’t I’ll briefly explain. Historically Wales has always been a nation under the thumb of the British state, a nation of overachievers firmly under the paw of it’s English master which it relies on to prop up it’s flailing economy. A nation that was crushed by Thatcher and trampled on by the English state. One of the poorest countries within Europe, attached to one of the wealthiest.
As a Welshman it pains me to say that England simply dominates in terms of average income, life expectancy and population. A nation of 53million takes on a nation of about 3million. With Welsh minds for years focused on the past, longing for the glory days of early Welsh rugby where they were a dominant force. Year after year crushing any force that would dare get in their way. The outcome is clear, right? No. With a 128 games in total played against these rugby giants they have both won 56 games each. With England winning 15/18 games played between these gladiators from 1990 to 2004 the rivalry would be assumed all but over, the red dragon slain by the sword of St.George.
That would be until the revival of Welsh rugby since 2005 where the Welsh were lead to the ultimate victory of a grand slam by coach Mike Ruddock. Being the first team to ever do so whilst playing more away games than home games (since the addition of Italy in 2000). After decades being thumped by a far superior English side Wales finally got lucky in 2005 where the boot of Gavin Henson helped wales claim its first victory in what felt like an eternity over the now world cup wielding nation. It seems for the time being this rivalry will continue to be one of the, if not the, most competitive in sports. I’m certain that England will be out for revenge in this years SixNations after their humiliating 30 – 3 defeat last year. I have no doubt there will be some big hits, controversial decisions and broken hearts. Who will go one ahead in this most bitter of rivalries?
To find out what makes a good rivalry subscribe to our Facebook page and Twitter feed in order to read my next article; “The top 10 ingredients needed for a bitter rivalry”