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5 fans you always meet in the pub watching Wales during the Six Nations

23 Feb 2019 5 minute read
Welsh rugby fans. Picture by Infomatique (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Luke Upton

1. The Expert

Your lucky to be in his company (and it is always a he) and what will unfold across the 80 minutes will be a master class of insight and expertise so good he’ll expect you to be writing it down.

As soon as the game kicks off you’ll hear a stream of observations about pods, phases and line-speed all uttered just that bit too loud.

Is likely to be found standing at the bar, even if seats are available so the most people possible number can hear their opinions.

Calls the rugby ball the pill, because that’s what the All Blacks do. Doesn’t say World Cup, instead always calls it the Webb Ellis Cup in slightly whispered reverential tones.

Thinks he invented the term ‘underlap’, so likes to use it a lot.

Most likely to say: “Every time ref” after each penalty or free kick is awarded.

Least likely to say: “I don’t know why he’s given that.”

2. The I Know Him

They know him, don’t you know. Yes, the fella up there on the big screen. Him up there. They know him. Did they mention that? They played rugby with him in school.

And do you know what? He wasn’t that good back then. He really wasn’t. If anything they were better. Funny that, eh? But they’ve got great memories together. Great times.

Secondary school? No, no, it was Primary. But still, hard to believe we were teammates. Do they still see them? Not recently, no, about ten years ago. They had a great chat.

I follow him on Twitter though, not sure if he follows back to be honest, I haven’t checked… But their mum’s do pilates together in the local library, so they are still close.

Most likely to say: “I still can’t believe we used to play together.”

Least likely to say: “It was actually only for three games. Twenty-five years ago.”

3. The Misery

It doesn’t matter what’s happening on the pitch, its not going to end well. Even if it does end well, it doesn’t end well enough.

The team is terrible. The manager has no idea. The crowd is full of the wrong sort of fans. The games are in the wrong order. The camera angles are incorrect. The sponsors are stupid. The kick off times aren’t what they used to be.

They seem to relish a Wales hammering and consider most of the 90s a ‘golden era’ in that respect. Uncomfortable with success, they do however like it when Wales win and Gatland doesn’t crack a smile.

When Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005, they celebrated by buying a packet of Scampi Fries to go with their pint of Mild.

Most likely to say: “Abbssaaa-bloody-useless” (slams fist on table)

Least likely to say: “Ohhh, do you know what? I really enjoyed that.”

4. The Five Week Fan

It’s not that hard right? Wales are always in red. You recognize George North and Alun Wyn Jones, and Ian Williams at full back.

They like rugby, sure, but just not that much. They like football more and real-life crime documentaries on Netflix most of all.

But all the gang go to the games, and its an excuse just to spend the day in the pub with no one minding. It helps them get along with their boss on a Monday morning.

They keep pretty quiet, not offering too much and they properly clam up when the conversation goes to whether Gavin Henson is a better 10 or 12, or who the most capped Welshman never to go on a Lions tour was.*

Most likely to say: “I’ll get the drinks, I don’t mind queuing.”

Least likely to say: “How Byron Hayward only won two caps for Wales I’ll never understand.”

5. The Partner

Duty? Obligation? Love? They know what they are like when they’ve been on the beer all day and need to keep an eye on them?

Whatever their reason, you’ll find them perched next to their partner, half looking at the game, half at their phones. Cheering at most of the obviously key moments, checking people’s reactions for less clear parts of the game before reacting.

They are great at spotting other partners in the group, and strategically moving towards them, at which point chats about work, mortgages and Brexit suddenly become appealing.

If early on in the relationship, they are silently weighing up if they want to do this all their life.

Most likely to say: “Is this one of those pubs that has free newspapers?”

Least likely to say: “If the game kicks off at 5, we’d better get here at 1 to get a table.”

Luke Upton is one half of @NotGavHenson and the author of Absolutely Huge ( Y Lolfa) available at all good bookshops, and online from Y Lolfa or on Amazon.

*Gareth Llewellyn.

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