Support our Nation today - please donate here
Sport

Rugby reporter reckons that Scotland has the best national anthem

21 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Wales and Scotland fans ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. David Davies/PA Wire.

A sports journalist writing in a national newspaper has opened up something of a can of worms by declaring that in his view Scotland has the best national anthem of all the countries in the Six Nations.

Rugby reporter Ben Coles writing in the Telegraph has of course prompted a debate which will inevitably cause an outpouring of passionate and partisan views from countrymen and women of each nation.

In making his decision Ben has argued that despite Wales and France having anthems that are delivered with maximum gusto, Soctland’s has a ‘unique hymnal quality’.

He wrote: “Having had the good fortune to attend several games in Cardiff and also recently hear France belt out ‘Marchons! Marchons!’ at their own Rugby World Cup last year, the following statement is not made lightly: Scotland might just have the best anthem in the Six Nations.

That does, admittedly, feel slightly blasphemous given a strongly held belief that Cardiff with the roof shut produces the best atmosphere of any Test match you will ever go to. If you can somehow force the hairs on the back of your neck to stand down when (seemingly) a million Welshmen and women around you bellow the final line “O bydded i’r heniaith barhau”, then you should be listing that ability to emotionally detach as a skill on your CV. Or visit a therapist. Perhaps both.”

Which seems to us a watertight argument for Wales possessing the best anthem, nevertheless, we digress.

Wales players sing the national anthem ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

He continues: “How, therefore, has Flower of Scotland stealthily snuck into contention at the front of the pack? It has been adopted as an unofficial anthem since 1990, first used before ‘The Grudge’, a folk song by the Corries from the 1960s which initially attracted attention for its, let’s say, direct lyrics referencing Scotland’s victory over England and “proud Edward’s army” at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

“One important caveat is that Flower of Scotland doesn’t travel as well as other anthems; the a cappella second verse sung by a sold-out Murrayfield is a deal-breaker and takes everything up a notch, giving the moment a unique hymnal quality.

“Wales, France and Italy’s anthems are all deliberately delivered with maximum gusto to try and rouse you out of your seat, to make you roar, and do so brilliantly. Flower of Scotland isn’t trying to do that, which is why “funereal dirge” is a popular criticism thrown its way. It marches purposefully behind the sound of bagpipes, before sweeping you along with the sound of thousands singing unaccompanied in unison.”

So, let’s get this straight, Scotland’s anthem has been described as a ‘funereal dirge’ and is accompanied by bagpipes, surely the most offensive musical instrument ever to be placed on this earth, whose very sound can make your ears bleed (possibly), yet is still the best.

Erm, okay.

Scotland fans sing the national anthem before the Guinness Six Nations match against Wales (Credit: PA)

While, of course, you would expect us at Nation Cymru to heartily disagree, it’s not much of an argument put forward in favour of Flower of Scotland.

That’s why we very much echo the views of the Telegraph’s golf correspondent and proud Welshman, James Corrigan, who took issue with his colleague’s baffling viewpoint when he posted on X (formerly Twitter): “I’m clearly biased, but the Welsh national anthem s***s all over the rest in the 6 Nats. Saying Scotland’s ditty is the best is like favouring Little Mix over Beethoven.”

James, we salute you sir!

p.s. If you click through to the Telegraph story, there is currently a poll up and running where you can vote for your favourite anthem. Just saying.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

It’s just the mans opinion, I prefer the Rolling Stones over the Beatles, it all down to personal taste.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

He’s a journalist for the Telegraph. Enough said.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

Anthem?
Isn’t it more of a recently written folk song?

CapM
CapM
1 month ago

An Attempt to divide and rule.
Whatever the opinions on the merits of the anthems Flower of Scotland and Hen Wlad Fyn Nhadau are I’m pretty sure that the Scots and the Cymry are united in their opinion that God Save the King/Queen is the worst..

Stephen Amos
Stephen Amos
1 month ago

Who cares? Our Anthem is amazing. Scotland’s is beautiful, France’s is rousing, Ireland’s is defiant, England’s is dull. That’s my opinion. If you disagree, I won’t be offended.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

Our anthem is the best of all as it is about us as people and our country, the mountains and sea around our coast.

The worst, maybe of the whole world, is the anthem of lloegr as it calls upon a non-existent sky fairy to save and protect the most privileged person alive, with no comment on the country or its population, except to be forever subservient!

Dafydd
Dafydd
1 month ago

“national” newspaper?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.