Rugby World Cup

Sorry not sorry, England

Sportsroom editor Steve Deane was there in '95 when the All Blacks shoved it up the English in Cape Town

COMMENT: “Stick your chariots,”

“Stick your chariots,”

“You can stick your chariots up your a#@*.”


As uplifting, unifying ditties go, the favoured riposte of Scottish rugby fans to their English counterparts is perhaps a little unsophisticated. But there is beauty in simplicity – and that is what this column and a bunch of Kiwi mates saw in 1995 when we stumbled across a bunch of Scots serenading a group of English fans in Johannesburg in 1995.

“That’s bloody brilliant,” was the consensus among our group. Having not been especially prone to breaking into song before joining the Scots that night, we instantly morphed into a foul-mouthed version of the Travelling Wilburys.

By the time we pitched up in Cape Town a month later for the showdown with the mortal enemy in a World Cup semi-final, hardly a bar the length of a breadth of South Africa had been spared a singalong.

Wherever we sang, Scots, Irish, Welsh, Aussies, South Africans - and even some villagers in Lesotho - joined in.

If hatred of the English is a unifying force, the English rugby team is like that super glue that can hold an elephant with a single drop.

The Jonah Lomu-Mike Catt roadkill incident is one of the most celebrated moments in Anglo-Kiwi relations. Photo: Getty Images.

In this column’s case, intense distaste of the English is reserved exclusively for English rugby. A British passport-carrying dual citizen who has spent long enough residing in Blighty to have a child born there, I regard the English football team with great fondness. I’ll support England’s cricket team against allcomers except New Zealand (even after the horrors of the World Cup) and have roast beef well inside my top five favourite meals.

So why do I start foaming at the mouth at the sight of a twit in a white shirt with a red rose on it?

Kiwis often reference a distaste of the smugness that exudes from a typical English rugby fan. But if that is a reason to detest English rugby, then it is also cause for a deluge of self-loathing; there are nowt more smug than All Blacks fans after a victory - to wit, sorry Ireland, you were deluded if you ever thought you had even a remote chance against us, you losers.

Others seem to be driven by a colonial inferiority complex, projecting upon the English an air of geographical-based superiority despite clear evidence that plenty of Brits would love nothing more than to come and chill out with us on our island paradises in the Southern Hemisphere – and many in fact do.

For me, it has nothing to do with attitude or geography. It’s entirely about class and entitlement. Rugby is the sport of the English upper classes, and those dudes get my goat. And can’t be trusted to be alone with it.

Of course, it is utterly unfair to cast all English rugby followers in this light. They’re not all royal princes; many of them are mere dukes, duchesses, viscounts and common as muck lords.

Even then, we’re clearly only talking about 60 to 70 percent of the fanbase. And, in fairness to the English players, most of them are significantly less English than I am.

So then, it must be conceded, that screaming at every English person in sight to shove a horse-drawn cart up their jacksy is illogical, juvenile and unbecoming.

With that in mind, as someone who was fortunate enough to be standing behind the posts at Newlands to witness Jonah Lomu run amok and the All Blacks thrash you English Nancies within an inch of your lives in '95 - and who may not have reacted with total humility and graciousness as those mesmerising events unfolded - this time around I will simply say this: good luck England, all the best.

Oh - and stick your chariots up your [email protected]#*.

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