Having two boys and living in Wales means I have no hope of avoiding rugby. We’ve already had stick for the eldest playing football and constantly kicking around the “wrong shaped ball”, and he’s only five!
So when we were offered the chance to go and watch Wales v England at the Principality Stadium at the weekend of course I said yes!
What better match to take the boys for their first international rugby experience than our biggest rival?!
Before we set off, we had a bit of a debate about who we’d be supporting. For me and Stew it was obviously going to be Wales. Despite being dressed in red, the boys were having none of it. The eldest was insisting he’d support England, and even went as far as saying he wanted roses painted on his face, while the youngest said he was cheering for Barcelona. Alrighty then…
Suitable in the mood after several renditions of Calon Lan along the M4, we got to Cardiff where the atmosphere was fab. It was a lovely sunny day, so there were people sitting outside pubs, and walking around outside the stadium. I’d been a bit worried that it might be too rowdy for the boys as they’re still little, but there was a really positive feel about the city centre.
We picked up our tickets, found a face painter (not hard as they’re everywhere!) and managed to coax the five-year-old into having the three feathers on his face. He looked so proud, and fitted right in.
Knowing that the boys wouldn’t sit still for long before the game started (a disastrous trip to the cinema taught us never to arrive anywhere too early!), we got to our seats just 10 minutes before kick-off.
If I thought the atmosphere outside was good, inside the stadium was off the scale. The roof was closed, keeping the sound in, it was pretty much full, and the teams were about to run out.
We had amazing seats, a few rows from the pitch, and we could feel the heat from the flames shooting up and around the ground. The build up was amazing.
Both boys cheered as Wales ran on, and stood for the national anthem.
Now I’ll admit I don’t know much about rugby (but it automatically takes preference over football by being 10 minutes shorter), but even I got into it.
When Wales got the first points the boys loved it! We picked them up in the air so they could see the action, and they were laughing and cheering so hard.
Nice to see ex-Scarlet George North score the first try too … funny story, I saw him behind the counter at a Nando’s opening once and thought he’d been on work experience at the newspaper I used to work at. Shows how much I know!
There were a group of England supporters behind us, but there was no bad feeling or tension during the match. It was all so friendly.
About half way through the first half, the littlest boy got a bit distracted and asked if we could go and buy some Haribo from the shop. I didn’t have much hope that they’d sell sweets, but there behind the bar were big bags of Star Mix … extra points for the Principality there!
The actual rugby points were a bit few and far between, but the line outs and scrums entertained the eldest boy. The littlest lost interest about 50 minutes in, which I think is pretty good for him, and played games on my phone for a while. He didn’t complain once though, and any time there was a chance of points he looked up and joined in the cheering.
Even on the way to the toilets he was chanting “oggy oggy oggy”. Ha!
We left the stadium slightly early to avoid the crowds – I was a bit anxious of losing one of them – and even with the roof on we could hear the crowd from outside.
Before we went, I wasn’t sure what the boys would make of it. The eldest is sports mad, but 80 minutes is a long time to sit and watch a match. I needn’t have worried as he absolutely loved it! He enjoyed “the scores, the sweets and singing”. He was just a bit disappointed that nobody sang Sosban Fach, so we had a few renditions on the way home … of course.
It’s pretty cool that they got to see Wales on home ground, and getting the win that ranked them number one in the world … even above the All Blacks!
They’ll be taking on Ireland at home next, on August 31, and there are still tickets available. If you have little sports or rugby fans at home it’s definitely worth thinking about taking them. It would be a fab end to the school holidays!
For tickets, visit https://www.wru.wales
Or for information about junior membership (which has lots of perks and only costs £20 for the year) visit https://www.wru.wales/tickets/wru-official-membership/junior-membership/