Adam Hathaway breaks down the best national anthems you will hear during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Best National Anthems Of The Rugby World Cup
You will be hearing the national anthems of the 20 teams at the Rugby World Cup at least four times during the tournament. Some you will be familiar with, some you won’t be, so we have picked a few to look out for, and not all the obvious ones. If you don’t know the words to all of them by the time of the final you have not watched enough rugby.
La Marseillaise is one of the most stirring calls to arms and is a highlight of Six Nations and World Cups especially for French fans with the way Les Bleus have been playing recently.
It was written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, a French Army officer who ended up dying in poverty, in 1792.
It contains lines, in French obviously, which translate to ‘The bloody standard is raised’, ‘Do you hear the baying of these ferocious soldiers?’ and ‘To arms citizens’. If that doesn’t get you going nothing will.
Named when around 500 volunteers from Marseille marched to Paris to help out the French Revolution singing the song in 1792 it was made national anthem in 1879 and still brings a chill to the spine of visiting fans at Stade de France.
Apparently the longest national anthem in the world but mercifully a shortened version is used at games otherwise we would be on our feet for the best part of six minutes and television executives would be getting twitchy.
Francisco Jose Debali, a Hungarian who migrated to South America in 1838 is supposed to have written the music in 1848, lyrics were supplied by Esteban Acuna de Figueroa.
It opens with a cheery “Eastern landsmen, our country or the grave! Freedom, or with glory to die.”
It starts off jauntily enough but there is a long intro before the singing begins. We listened to the full version and after the first load of vocals it slows down in the middle then picks up again towards the end. Has a slight Bohemian Rhapsody feel to it without the Freddie Mercury factor.
It is written in the laws of international rugby Los Pumas cannot start a game without hooker, and captain, Agustin Creevy being captured on screen crying to Himno Nacional Argentino. It is an absolute given.
This one gets the juices flowing big time and the Argentina fans at the 2015 World Cup belted it out brilliantly especially at Wembley, Cardiff and Twickenham.
This is no ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ Julie Covington style ballad, it is a stonking, terrace thumping one that was adopted by the country in 1813, on 11 May, three years after the May revolution. The 11 May is Anthem Day in Puma Land.
Some of the lyrics translate as “Hear, mortals, the sacred cry: Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”
Inspiring stuff and a bit of tear jerker. Just ask Creevy.
Even the hardest of English hearts could not chuck this one out of the top half dozen or so, and as an Englishman, cover blown, I wonder how much it inspires, or deflates, visiting players to the Principality Stadium. It is a proper song though.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, is the proper title of this one, written in 1856, roughly translated as ‘Land of My Fathers’ with lyrics by Evan James, and the tune composed by his son James, who both came from Pontypridd.
Yet again, this is not one for the squeamish with verses proclaiming thus “This land of my Fathers is dear to me. Land of poets and singers, and people of stature. Her brave warriors, fine patriots. Shed their blood for freedom.”
When this is played ahead of games and you do not see a Welsh fan with a daffodil around their head, in the ground, then you lose points on your World Cup bingo card.
This one, entitled ‘Land of the Brave’ is not exactly rocking in the aisles stuff but if it is good enough for Jacques Burger it is good enough for us.
It was adopted as the national anthem in 1991 and includes lines such as ‘Namibia land of the brave, the freedom fight we have won, glory to their bravery, whose blood waters our freedom.’
The song was written by Axali Doeseb, a Namibian composer and conductor, and it does what it says on the tin. A good solid anthem, and nothing too flash.
This one will get a few airings during the World Cup.
Kimigayo, or ‘His Imperial Majesty’s reign’, is no-one’s idea of a punk classic, but it is one of the oldest anthems in the world with the lyrics dating back to somewhere around 800 and the author of them being unknown.
Words include ‘May your reign continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations. Until the pebbles. Grow into boulders. Lush with moss.”
Short and operatic, it does the job for the Japanese players all right. Just ask South Africa.
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