I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in 30 years, I went to a Rugby International. Wales were playing South Africa at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
My wife, MrsA, is half American, half Bahamian and wanted to go see a game at the stadium. Well a promise is a promise so I managed to procure tickets and off we went.
After a spot of lunch we headed for St Mary’s Street and into a sea of red. Walking along Wood St in the crowds heading for gates 6 & 7 we were a few paces behind a family of South African supporters dressed in green and gold. “And they feel safe amongst all these Welsh supporters?”, said MrsA. “It’s rugby not football”, I said.
Sitting in the stadium I looked round at the pockets of green and gold dotted amongst the red, no soccer style ‘away fans only’ sections here. Two rows in front of us sat three mates, two in red shirts flagging the guy in green. Around them sat the rest of us, if not wearing red then supporting it.
Whenever South Africa made a good play, or scored some points our green hearted friend was on his feet, jumping for joy, screaming his lungs out and punching the air whilst doing a slow 360 degree turn to survey the crowd.
And what did the Welsh fans do in response? Were there threats? Verbal Abuse? Violence? Err, no! There was just polite clapping of the conversions and renewed chanting of “C’mon Wales!”
After the match and a 31-34 defeat we left the Stadium and spilled onto Wood and Westgate Streets. Welsh fans congratulated South African Fans, South African fans commiserated with Welsh Fans, some fans went to the pub together, others simply went home.
Elsewhere in Cardiff the Welsh Defence League were holding an anti-Muslim demonstration to incite hatred and intolerance towards others. They could have learned a lot from the fans of the men with funny shaped balls.