Sat in a Scottish bar in southern Tenerife, surrounded by welsh fans for the Wales v Fiji game. You would think you were in a local pub in the valleys if it weren’t for the blazing heat outside and the sunburnt faces of everyone in.
After the game I was having a chat with a table of supporters, we’d all had a few, we were all merry that we’d won and that Wales were one step closer to the quarter finals! During our chat the fiery welsh woman next to me told me she was from Cardiff and that they were all huge rugby fans! So in my head I presumed that meant she was a Cardiff blues fan…..”Oh no only internationals”
My eyes just saw red, and not the welsh jerseys that cluttered the bar. My heart just dropped and I wanted to scream! Wales play on average nine or ten games a year. That leaves forty weekends with nothing. Yet there are these things called rugby clubs. They aren’t just there as a little bar, the clue is in the name! It is a RUGBY club, meaning a team plays there! They don’t play themselves either, meaning that there is another club, who don’t play each other week in week out, hence there are more rugby clubs, more teams, more leagues.
These leagues turn into competitions into promotions which develop into a higher league. If the players play well enough they can catch the eye of scouts for the regional game. Playing week in week out the beautiful game where one day may steal the attention of Wales boss’s and have the chance to sport the welsh jersey.
There’s a whole world of rugby besides the international stage. There’s club level, there’s regional level, there’s even school’s with teams where I can guarantee every single member of that starting welsh fifteen started at least somewhere. Yet nobody seems to care!
Oh how I wish the international spectacular could be replicated in some way at a lower level. The welsh team that will take to the pitch in the World Cup of 2023 are picking up a rugby ball right now. Playing in a muddy field watched by their mothers and fathers in soaking wet weekends. It’s on your doorstep and probably costs a pint in comparison to the ticket of a seat in the Millennium stadium. This is rugby. Support them today!