Sunday, March 16, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time


Simply put, it was an occasion to be deeply proud to be British. It was pulsating, emotional, sporting in the very best sense of the word, unspoiled by bad manners or churlish gestures.

It was much more than a game. Twickenham excelled itself in providing a magnificent venue for the accommodation of all traditions within the island of Great Britain. Great credit is due to the RFU for making a day that will go down in the annals of history.

The behaviour of the large crowd of more than 82,000 attending the Ireland-England rugby match at the home of Rugby football was exemplary but, more importantly, it was genuine.

At a time when it is fashionable to be critical of the materialism of British society, the rugby match at Twickenham on Saturday evening showed off Britain at its best. The playing of Ireland's Call, without interruption, was hair-raising and historic and set a special backdrop of expectation for the players before the game began. The national anthem, God Save The Queen followed with what seemed a louder and greater gusto than on other occasions. There were many wet eyes.

The respect shown to the singing of the Irish rugby anthem at Twickenham is a measure of how much Britain has changed for the better.

All in all, it was a very special night to remember in the history, not just of sport, but of a modern Britain, full of self-confidence and comfortable with herself. It was a privilege to be there, an occasion to be recited to grandchildren. A new little bit of history was made.

But, why? The Ireland-England rugby match at Twickenham will go down in history as the day that we demonstrated a confidence amongst ourselves as a nation, a generous sense of Britishness, a belief in our sovereignty as an independent state, a pride in our achievements and, above all, a national affirmation that we are in command of our destiny.

© 2008 The English Times
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