|Six Nations: Wales v England|
|Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 23 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT|
|Protection: Are living on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio 5 stay, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport net page and BBC Sport app, plus stay textual screech commentary.|
You’re going to even be in many areas in London and now no longer know there are 80,000 other folks at a match in Twickenham. Swerve the Gare du Nord and Paris on a Six Nations weekend can breeze as Paris always does. Murrayfield is a 45-minute ramble from the centre of Edinburgh, the Aviva Stadium tucked in Dublin’s neatly-heeled south-eastern suburbs.
Cardiff? The handiest method possibilities are you’ll well well maybe breeze over the Principality Stadium is when possibilities are you’ll well well maybe also very neatly be leaving metropolis with out a backward glimpse. You’re going to even be oblivious to the rugby handiest when you lock your self away for the weekend and by no system once hit upon out.
Most of Wales seems to empty into its capital on matchdays. A stadium within the guts of the metropolis, a game quiet within the coronary heart of the nation. All cities and sports maintain their very enjoy specific rhythms and charms but Cardiff when England reach calling is take care of no other.
It’s particular thanks to its traditions and alive because it is now no longer good old school ancient past. A competition that has stretched out across 138 years kicks on to this Saturday and drags two countries into its wake. Eighty minutes of rugby but a day around it that begins with immense breakfasts and butterflies within the belly and finishes handiest whereas you’ll need it to.
Long-established chums, familiar routines, memories of matchdays long past before. Early trains out of Paddington, heading west with the optimistic English and day-trail diaspora, seats handiest when possibilities are you’ll well well maybe also very neatly be lucky, beers being handed spherical the carriage.
Traffic constructing on the M4, tiresome by the tunnel exterior Newport, crawling alongside the A48 into metropolis. Shorter hops from the west, 40 minutes from Neath living into Cardiff Central, an 11am wearing breeze back and forth with cans in baggage.
The metropolis skyline has modified. The veteran brick tower of the Brains brewery by the living has long past, the grey partitions of the detention heart dwarfed by fresh condo blocks. Pile off the educate and you proceed to ranking taken out the powerful distance spherical, wait on below the bridge after which up into metropolis, stadium looming before you, and the day kicks on all over again.
Wales v England is the dialog all week. Not the climate, or football, but a stroll across the cliches and speaking aspects: can Gareth Anscombe management a game take care of Dan Biggar? Will England’s kicking game be hoovered up by Liam Williams? Who will bewitch the wait on-row fight?
The stadium is a magnet drawing them in from all corners. Strolling in from Roath to the north-west, scattering the final of the Saturday purchasers, coming alongside the Cowbridge Road from the west. A Cathedral Road pub jog from the affluent ends of Pontcanna and Llandaff or a brisk lag across Bute Park. Presumably about a looseners down within the bay.
All paths lead to metropolis. If you happen to can also very neatly be younger with a flat or residence, mates defend over and mates of mates gain residence on the floor. If you happen to mustn’t maintain a designate – neatly, most other folks don’t. Or now no longer it is rugby but it surely’s furthermore an all-dayer and an excuse. Or now no longer it is why there will even be queues to ranking into Walkabout on St Mary Avenue before noon and why Caroline Avenue would maybe be awash rapidly after.
If you happen to need it civilised, it is pints within the Goat Major or the bar of the Holiday Inn on the corner of Fortress Avenue. Elbow to elbow within the lobby of the Angel Resort, where visiting groups old to defend wait on within the day, male narrate choirs in tune on the immense staircase. If you happen to need it messy you don’t desire to search out anxious.
It is now no longer always a fortress and there would possibly be now no longer so powerful of the hatred that some bear in mind. England maintain left victorious on three of their past four visits. The veteran story of itsy-bitsy brother against immense now now no longer carries so powerful weight when Wales maintain three Big Slams within the past 14 years to England’s one, when they’ve long past extra within the past two World Cups, when the nation has a flourishing political and cultural self-self belief.
It is now no longer good about the booze but it surely floats alongside on it. The reason there would possibly be a craft IPA called Mikey Rayer is now no longer good a tribute to the 2 tries the old school Cardiff man scored as a replacement against Scotland in 1994 but the truth his name is native rhyming slang for an all-day session. There’ll reach a level later within the day when other folks will put out of your mind how coats work.
A lot has stayed the same but powerful has modified too. Football is younger and cooler. Domestic rugby in Wales is a large number.
It’s quiet a day when nothing else is deliberate. You don’t by likelihood book a marriage when Wales play England or gain that possibilities are you’ll well well maybe also very neatly be going away. The connection between elite and neighborhood stays. You would possibly well be ready to quiet search internationals take care of Justin Tipuric coaching the juniors at his membership aspect Trebanos on a Sunday morning, or situation hooker Ken Owens having a pint in Carmarthen.
The ones who resent rugby and the system it goes to purchase the veteran stereotypes – marching bands and Sloop John B, Max Boyce and anthropomorphic daffodils – are quiet defined by their opposition to it. No-one is goal.
For the travelling English it is some distance a day to genuinely feel take care of cartoon villains whereas furthermore relishing being surrounded by other folks who piece the same obsessions. There is mostly hope – England are chasing a file sixth consecutive Six Nations bewitch in this fixture – and this year the boldness of thumping wins against Eire and France.
You would possibly well well argue the survivors of the 30-3 shellacking in 2013 elevate the scars. However Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell maintain won in Cardiff since, and Manu Tuilagi is more about meting out pain than carrying it.
Jonny Would possibly maybe has won on the Principality, as maintain George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Elliot Daly, Courtney Lawes. England maintain scored nearly twice as many tries within the championship this year as another employees, and they’re but to meet Italy. Eddie Jones has coached England four times against Wales and won every one.
When 74,500 other folks maintain piled into the Principality by 4.45pm on Saturday, that past will topic less than the contemporary.
You hearken to the choruses of Delilah rolling down the steep stands, wonder at a tune that celebrates a misogynist execute and take part anyway. You hope the bloke subsequent to possibilities are you’ll well well maybe elevate all these pints with out slopping them for your footwear. You would possibly well well also very neatly be feeling the heat for your face from the pitch-aspect flame-throwers and possibilities are you’ll well well maybe also very neatly be on the centre of the rugby universe.
Rugby’s finest championship, the game’s consummate afternoon.
- Match preview, line-ups & key statistics
- Elevated or decrease quiz: Who weighs more?
- Six Nations protection – how to use on the BBC
- Matt Dawson Portray: Wales v England – a title decider?