Six Nations: Is the National Welsh Team on the Decline?

Wales faced an unexpected defeat over the weekend so what does the future hold for Welsh Rugby Union in the coming year?

Wales vs Italy in the Six Nations 2013.

All hope is lost, there is only two minutes left on the clock and fans look on in disappointment as Wales are set to lose the Six Nations for the first time in 21 years. Yet, the Dragons give it one more bid and sprint across the try line making the final score a less sorry 21-24 against Italy. Even though they were ultimately handed the wooden spoon, this did not take away from the excitement and support felt by fans and players alike.

The Six Nations has seen highs and lows for Wales in the past weeks, as Max Boyce stepped onto the grassy pitch to grace the Principality Stadium for the Wales vs France game with his iconic singing voice. The beloved comedian and singer is known for his unwavering support for rugby union. The renowned hit Hymns and Arias has become synonymous with the game, and he even altered some of the lyrics to perfectly fit the occasion.

But why have Wales lost so dramatically? Many fans cite the youth of the players as the reason behind the poor performance. Natalie is a mother of an avid rugby player, her son aged 13 plays for Cardiff RFC, she said “The reason for the loss is their age, one hundred percent their age. Their lack of experience in national teams and the fact they usually play with a lot of younger players who play very differently. That is why we got it (the wooden spoon).”

Natalie is waiting for her son playing rugby in Cardiff Arms Park this Wednesday.

In addition to the youthfulness of the Welsh athletes participating in this match, fans attribute the team’s acquisition of the wooden spoon to the introduction of new players and the departure of star players.

“It is just so many new players at the same time, whereas a lot of the other teams, they’ve got more settled established teams, whereas Wales since the World Cup has had the most changes of players.” said Luke Francis, also father of a rugby youth player at Cardiff Arms Park.

Luke Francis is also waiting for his child outside Cardiff Arms Park.

Wales have also lost many players to the allure of playing across the pond. “Louis Rees-Zammit, probably as Welsh best up and coming rugby player, has just decided this year to leave rugby to go and pursue American football in the states.” said Adam, President of Cardiff University American football team as well as an enthusiast of rugby.

“For him, as a player, he’s going to be able to go and develop himself as an athlete. So, he’ll face challenges, whether it’s adapting to the rules and how it’s played. But as a natural athlete, I think he’ll do very well.” Adam commented. “I think Wales have missed out on keeping one of their best players.”

Adam is president of Cardiff University American football team as well as a rugby enthusiast.

Despite Wales unexpectedly winning the wooden spoon in Six Nations 2024, fans are still hopeful and passionate about the future of the Welsh national rugby union team. “They do need time to become a good team. They will go through some hurts before they get better.” a Cardiff Rugby staff member named Paul said.

But all may not be lost as fans have gracefully accepted defeat and keep an eye on the future. “If we can keep most of this team together, now for the next 4 years, they’ll probably be in a better place for the next World Cup. Just gotta go through our pain first.“ explained Luke, the father of one.

Paul is a Cardiff Rugby staff member who also passionate about rugby.

Rugby in Wales is not just a sport but a way of life and a cultural symbol. “Rugby is inbred in Wales. It’s attracted everybody in Wales from kids to grown-ups.” Paul emphasized. “Rugby is in the Welsh blood. It has been for a long time.”