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English fan question

Dai Perk

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Hey, my friends,
So, I’m finally watching the ENG v NZ match from last Autumn (NBC chose not to broadcast that match, don’t get me started), and it’s my my first real experience hearing a packed stadium sing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”...
Very moving, and very cool, especially when used as a defense against the Haka...
But why that song? As an American, that song has VERY specific connotations, none of which can I possibly attach to rugby...
What’s with that tradition?
Thanks, y’all, just curious,
Dave
 

Which Tyler

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IIRC it was first sung in honour of England's first black player (Chris Oti) and kinda stuck from there.
 

Dai Perk

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60053906.jpg
 

Nudger

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Its a song that has been sung in club houses for years with funny suggestive hand signals that gradually caught on
 

Old Hooker

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Ignoring stuff around its origins I think it’s a plain dull song. And don’t even start me on the dirge of an anthem that isn’t exclusively English.

More Land of Hope & Glory please.
 

Dai Perk

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It did strike me as an odd choice, although, there's no American equivalent of a whole stadium singing along together, so it's always moving for me... The best we can expect hear is a "YOU SUCK" chant or people throwing batteries... :p
 

Dai Perk

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Ok. Again, way behind, but watching the RWC final from 2015 at Twickenham... just heard a big Swing Low go through the crowd... what the eff? It’s not even in support of one team over the other, it’s just a random song... so odd.

My only question is, is this a Twickenham thing, or an England thing?
 

die_mole

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It did strike me as an odd choice, although, there's no American equivalent of a whole stadium singing along together, so it's always moving for me... The best we can expect hear is a "YOU SUCK" chant or people throwing batteries... :p

There are a couple American examples. Red wings sing that journey song. Red Sox have sweet Caroline. And of course teams have celebratory song. “Fly eagles fly” was probably the first song I learned. We use to randomly start singing it high school parties lol.

But nothing in American sports moves me quite the way “swing low, sweet chariot” at Twickenham does.
 

Dai Perk

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It makes me wonder, who were the crowd at Twickenham rooting for between NZ and Oz?
 

Dai Perk

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Red Sox have sweet Caroline.
Yes, that’s my local baseball team, and much like my Swing Low question, I haven’t any idea why it’s translated to European and even Super Rugby games... Bizarre.
 

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It makes me wonder, who were the crowd at Twickenham rooting for between NZ and Oz?
Speaking as someone who was at Twickenham that day, I was shouting for Aus because they were underdogs. There is a loooooong sporting rivalry between England and Australia though (Google “The Ashes” for a flavour of it), so there will have been plenty shouting for NZ.
 

Dai Perk

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Omg that is EXACTLY the kind of insight I was hoping for... if I was English and there on that day, you can bet I, too, would have been in full-throated support of the underdog Ozzies...
 

Which Tyler

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Omg that is EXACTLY the kind of insight I was hoping for... if I was English and there on that day, you can bet I, too, would have been in full-throated support of the underdog Ozzies...
We brits love a plucky underdod; but we also "hate" those arrogant aussies... so... erm... I suspect a lot of the locals changed allegiance with each period of play.
 

ncurd

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Sport is an odd thing Brits will always want the inferior to win.

However they have long standing rivalries with *takes breath* Australia (Cricket), Germany (Football), Wales (All Sport), Scotland (All Sport) & France (All of History)

Strangely we don't seam to have that deal with the Irish

It should also be noted rivalries aren't reciprocated Germany don't give a damn about us in Football in relative terms. India put huge stock in beating us in Cricket (although their biggest rival is Pakistan) but England fans generally just see them as a good team unlike to Ozzies.


It creates weird things where we have support on over the other I might eveb support Australia in Cricket if they were playing India. Mind you that's because Indian cricket fans are just the worst...
 

Which Tyler

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I'm not convinced about that rivalry with Wales and Scotland TBH - even as a Westcountryman, I think the rivalry is rather one sided - they always want to beat us and... we know they do, but are busy concentrating on Australia and France.

A rivalry like this should mean that the team predictably raises their game, and plays with palpable passion against that rival - and we just don't for our neighbours.
There's also, of course, the element of kinda wanting your rival to lose, even when they're not playing against you. English fans always seem perfectly happy to support Wales or Scotland once England aren't involved - which doesn't work in reverse.

Some do, of course; but not enough to call it a national characteristic. I'd also argue that those who do, do so mostly because they personally know arsehole fans from there, so more "ValleyCommando will be completely insufferable if they win" than "I want Wales to lose".
 
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Dai Perk

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I think the rivalry is rather one sided - they always want to beat us
This was the way it was for us in baseball for decades... Red Sox fans talked about the "rivalry" with the Yankees, while the Yankees were like, "The what socks now?" :p
 

bushytop

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I'm not convinced about that rivalry with Wales and Scotland TBH - even as a Westcountryman, I think the rivalry is rather one sided - they always want to beat us and... we know they do, but are busy concentrating on Australia and France.

A rivalry like this should mean that the team predictably raises their game, and plays with palpable passion against that rival - and we just don't for our neighbours.
There's also, of course, the element of kinda wanting your rival to lose, even when they're not playing against you. English fans always seem perfectly happy to support Wales or Scotland once England aren't involved - which doesn't work in reverse.

Some do, of course; but not enough to call it a national characteristic. I'd also argue that those who do, do so mostly because they personally know arsehole fans from there, so more "ValleyCommando will be completely insufferable if they win" than "I want Wales to lose".

The Wales (& Scotland if I may be so bold) feeling that the English are the ‘arch-nemesis’ thing is down to two things... the first, once England found its feet as a nation, they constantly invaded us in their quest conquer and imperialise the world (it just so happened that we were closest and therefore invaded & sadly conquered :( first and treated the Welsh to the original apartheid) and the second more recently relevant reason being that England are the ‘big brother’ around here... it is much the same in other smaller countries geographically close to an economic power (Canada and Mexico love to beat the USA at anything, NZ love to beat the Ozzies etc... I would assume that most of the old Soviet Union states that aren’t Russia would love to beat them too).

The fact that the English put a smaller stock in beating us that we do in them is hardly surprising... we barely have a 3 million population compared to over 55 million... together with the fact that ‘back in the day’ we never invaded you guys and caused you any unwarranted suffering. It really isn’t rocket science.
 
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Old Hooker

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“Look at what these b******s have done to Wales. They've taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our houses and live in them for a fortnight every 12 months. And what have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We've been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English — and we're playing them this afternoon."

Phil Bennett pre match team talk 1977.
 

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