The Welsh have a great sense of national pride. As a small nation this pride does not manifest itself in international power or influence, but more in our sense of independence of spirit. We simply believe that we think and feel differently to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Commonly, national pride is expressed through sport. Wales is no different and our sport of choice is rugby. With the current tensions in the world and everyone seemingly intent on the reinforcement of borders, this particular warrior code has to be preferable to the real thing.

But, I have to say, I do get unreasonably emotionally involved while I am watching Wales play. If we are playing badly my emotions range from anger, if they are making mistakes, to a sense of emptiness, if they have no spark. If the game is on fire, so am I, and my emotions run wild. I am not alone in this, the whole nation is invested in the result of a rugby match. Everyone, from grandma and grandad to small children, don their rugby jerseys on match day.

Rugby is the Welsh religion. There is only one other country which beats us in terms of addiction and devotion, and that is New Zealand. They are, of course, by far the best team in the world and it must be a pleasure to worship at that altar. In comparison the Welsh must often suffer and sacrifice. But dragons are fierce creatures and when they breathe fire, there is no better feeling for the devout followers.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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