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Rugby legend Gareth Thomas tells amazing story about Welsh national anthem

11 Feb 2021 2 minute read
Gabby Logan and Gareth Thomas on BBC show Six Nations Sin Bin.

Rugby legend Gareth Thomas has told an amazing story about the Welsh national anthem.

The former Wales international, affectionately known as Alfie, shared the tale with world-renowned tenor Bryn Terfel and co-presenter Gabby Logan, on BBC rugby show, Six Nations Sin Bin. They were also joined by fellow rugby legend Gareth Edwards, and comedian Ed Byrne.

Thomas said that Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (Old Land of my Fathers), was the first ever national anthem to be sung at a sporting event anywhere in the world, way back in 1905, when Wales hosted New Zealand’s rugby team.

He said: “Bryn, you have sung the national anthem on so many occasions, but did you know that our national anthem has a really important special place in history?

“Did you know in 1905, Wales hosted New Zealand’s first ever touring team, who at that point were unbeaten.

“Wales had just won the Triple Crown and this game was dubbed ‘The Game of the Century’.

“Wales wanted a response to the Haka. So, Welsh winger Teddy Morgan decided to lead the crowd in singing the anthem. This was the first national anthem to be sung at the start of a sporting event anywhere in the world.

“And it worked, as ‘The Game of the Century’ ended in Wales, thrashing New Zealand, thrashing them, 3 – 0.”

‘Because of Teddy Morgan’ 

Gabby Logan added: “So, it’s because of Teddy Morgan we sing anthems ahead of matches.”

Bryn Terfel said: “’O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau’ means ‘Oh, let the old language carry on’.”

Gareth Thomas replied: “I think if I knew the translation, like I sing the Welsh anthem with passion. I don’t know what it means, but I know it’s the Welsh national anthem. But I think if I knew what it meant, when I played, or even now, I’d probably sing it more passionately.”

Bryn Terfel said: “Well you just go home tonight and look at that translation, and next time you sing it you’ll know exactly every word you’re singing about.”

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