Wales vs England: A history of the raging rugby rivalry

The Six Nations game of England versus Wales is all that people are talking about and with good reason.

During the Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on February 23, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales.

Be it India versus Pakistan in cricket, Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal in tennis or Manchester United versus Liverpool in the Premier League. These are just a few examples of sporting rivalries that can’t be explained in mere words. In the world of rugby, England versus Wales is the match to always watch out for.

The match between England and Wales in the Six Nations Championship is probably one of the most awaited rugby matches ever. Walking down Queen Street in Cardiff, one can’t help but notice the buzz that is created because of this legendary fixture.
“This match is everything. Every year, we gear up for this game and it’s something that makes us feel very proud. It’s almost like a tradition,” said Jane Thomas, who has been supporting Wales for 12 years.

One can almost sense that the big day upon us because of the small stalls selling red and white scarves. The road to Principality Stadium feels like a new path as the fans roar with chants and songs and even if you don’t watch rugby, one can still feel alive with the kind of atmosphere that is created by just one single match.

“This match is everything. Every year, we gear up for this game and it’s something that makes us feel very proud. It’s almost like a tradition,” said Jane Thomas, who has been supporting Wales for 12 years.

England’s rugby team walks through a Guard of Honour given by the Welsh team

The long-drawn history between Wales and England is what makes this game so enthralling and the stakes are higher with every passing year. Whether it’s this year’s emphatic Welsh win or 1981 in Twickenham when Paul Ringer was controversially sent off for Wales, the heat of this match is what people long for.

For the Welsh, rugby is more than just a sport and for the English, it’s a sport they want to beat Wales in no matter the cost and that is exactly why this marks to be an epic rivalry.

England and Wales have faced each other since 1881 and as it stands, England has won 61 times as opposed to 57 for Wales. In the 130 matches that they have played against each other, there have been only 12 draws. However, no amount of statistics will ever be able to capture just how personal the rivalry is for the two sides.

Historically, Wales and England have always had a rocky relationship with each other. In a nutshell, years of being ruled over by the English have made the Welsh somewhat resentful towards the former. Taking over countries isn’t new to the English but sharing such close borders with Wales comes with a few prices to pay and one of them is to play against their extremely skilled rugby union team every year.
This year, things weren’t too different.

Streets were filled with fans; social media was clogged with some friendly banter and the players couldn’t wait to get out there and give their best. Wales beat England this year 21 to 13 thanks to Cory Hill and Dan Biggar.

Needless to say, Welsh fans were ecstatic but what made all the difference this time was the fact that even some English fans thought that Wales deserved the win.

Wales celebrate their late win against England in the Six Nations’ game (2019)

“This is a huge game and we don’t usually watch rugby but this is Wales we are talking about. It’s an important game for us. It’s only in the Six Nations that a feeling of devotion comes about. We played a strong English side but we outdid them in the second half and that’s what matters,” said Kevin who comes to Cardiff every year from Mid Wales to watch the Six Nations whenever Wales is playing England.
The game was a nervy one this year with Wales hitting victory in the dying minutes of the game which made it even sweeter for the Welsh supporters.

“It’s like we were beaten by our younger cousins but it was a good game and a bit of friendly rivalry is what keeps the game going. Welsh fans are obviously happier than us English fans,” said James who is an England supporter.

Hundreds of people come to Cardiff to watch the game and whenever they do, no one goes home disappointed because the lively ambience in pubs, bars and streets keep the game alive no matter what the result is.