All you need to know about the World Cup theme

History Of The Rugby World Cup Anthem World In Union

The anthem World in Union was first heard at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, held in England. In this first instance it was performed by New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa.

The melody used is known as Thaxted – it is taken from the central section of Jupiter, a movement from Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets, but is probably best known for it’s use in the hymn I Vow To Thee My Country. In 1991 composer and lyricist Charlie Skarbek was commissioned by World Rugby (then the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB)) to produce an anthem that encapsulated the spirit and values of the game.

Skarbek’s lyrics for the song are:

There’s a dream, I feel
So rare, so real
All the world in union
The world as one

Gathering together
One mind, one heart
Every creed, every colour
Once joined, never apart

Searching for the best in me
I will find what I can be
If I win, lose or draw
It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union
The world as one
As we climb to reach our destiny
A new age has begun

We may face high mountains
Must cross rough seas
We must take our place in history
And live with dignity

Just to be the best I can
That’s the goal for every man
If I win, lose or draw
It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union
The world as one
As we climb to reach our destiny
A new age has begun

It’s the world
The world in union
A new age has begun

The song was used at the 1991 event. In 1999 Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel produced a version, Hayley Westenra recorded one in 2011 and in 2015 Paloma Faith sang a version that was used on ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup.

The Faith number was not well received and during that tournament a petition to replace the singer’s version received over 10,000 signatures.

For the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the song was recorded by Japanese singer Kiyoe Yoshioka.

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