Rugby is the National Sport of Wales, it is the most popular sport in the country and gets the most attention from the Welsh media. In a country where the population is just over 3 million, the Welsh Rugby Team is incredibly good as the side heads into the upcoming Rugby World Cup second in the World Rankings (just behind New Zealand.)
The National team was founded in February 1881 and have competed in all 8 Rugby World Cups since they began in 1987. They have never won a World Cup title but finished third in 1987 which is their best ever finish in the tournament. They’re a hugely proud Nation and have won many Six Nations’ Championships along with numerous Grand Slams along the way. They’ve won 27 titles over the years along with 12 shared titles since the Six Nations began in 1883.
The Welsh National Team play their home games at Millennium Stadium (now named Principality Stadium). Built in 1999, the stadium is still widely considered as one of the best rugby stadiums in the world. The Stadium cost the Welsh Rugby Union (or the WRU) £126 million and the Union are still paying the money back to this day.
Over the years, Wales have had some phenomenal players. Some of their greatest ever players include Shane Williams, Neil Jenkins, Gareth Edwards, JPR Williams and current captain Alun Wyn Jones. Shane Williams currently holds the record for the most ever Wales tries with 58 to his name. He’s scored 22 tries in the Six Nations and 10 in World Cups, he was unplayable on his day and had electric pace.
Neil Jenkins made 87 appearances for Wales and scored 1049 points. He is the all-time top point scorer for Wales and also went on a British and Irish Lions tour where he made 4 appearances. He played at fly-half and full-back where he was mainly used for his kicking game which was at the time, the best in the World.
Gareth Edwards made 53 appearances for Wales scoring only 88 points from scrum-half. However, some say Gareth Edwards is the greatest Rugby player of all time where he had an incredible intelligence about the game whilst also being blessed with speed and incredible passing and kicking accuracy.
JPR Williams won 3 Six Nations Grand slam’s with Wales over his 12 year International career and has been introduced into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. He played at full-back where he made 55 appearances and scored 36 points for the National team.
Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones is one of Wales’ best ever players, he currently plays in the second row and is the Welsh captain. He will be leading the National side into the upcoming Rugby World Cup where he’ll be hoping he can inspire the side to glory. He’s an incredible leader and is known to be the best second row in the World right now.
Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, and Alun Wyn Jones all made the RugbyReader.com list of the greatest rugby players of all time by position. See the complete list here.
With all great sporting teams, there come rivalries. Wales’ biggest rivals are England. Wales have played the English 134 times over the course of history winning 58 of those clashes. The Welsh and English rivalry goes back centuries as the English oppressed the Welsh language and culture for years until Wales became its own country. The tensions are strong between the two countries and will do anything to get one over the other.
The Wales vs England rivalry began in 1881.
Wales is 58 – 62 – 12 all time against England.
Wales will be going into the World Cup slightly better than the English side, but if the two are to meet, it’ll be a huge match. The last time the two sides met in a World Cup was 2015 where Wales beat England even with an incredibly weak side in Twickenham which stopped England from progressing from their group.
Why you should cheer for the Welsh National Team
Wales are a hugely proud Nation with an awe-aspiring National anthem in “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” which roughly translates to “Land of my Fathers.” Any Rugby fan will tell you that the Anthem is the best in the World and brings tears to the eye of any Welsh rugby fan. The Welsh fans are arguably the most passionate set of supporters in the World and will blare out the National anthem on every match day. The players are a really nice group of guys who are incredibly humble and always give it their all in each match.
Wales have always struggled against the Southern-Hemisphere teams such as New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, however, in the past year, they’ve beaten both South Africa and Australia. They’ll believe they can go one further this year and win the Rugby World Cup in manager Warren Gatland’s final tournament with the National side. Whatever happens though, the Welsh fans will get behind the side no matter what but fans in Wales feel like this could be their year.