On reflection, the Six Nations is arguably one of the most passionate sporting events played across the globe. 

Every February, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy all contest for the Six Nations crown, but perhaps the most poignant feature of the tournament is the delivery of the national anthems beforehand. 

Similar to other sports but certainly not as fanatical as ruby union, the national anthems provide a jubilant atmosphere as it serves to lift the fans and players before the first whistle. 

Here, we take a look through each nation’s anthem ahead of the Six Nations opener on February 1st, with Betfair providing over ten markets to punt on. 

England – God Save the Queen

Although the exact origin still remains unknown, composer John Bull is thought to have written ‘God Save the Queen’ in 1619. It’s also the national anthem of New Zealand and Bermuda but will always be renowned as the United Kingdom’s. 

God save our gracious Queen!

Long live our noble Queen!

God save the Queen!

Send her victorious

Happy and glorious

Long to reign over us

God save the Queen!

Ireland

The current Six Nations holders can not only boast a world class squad, they can provide two anthems as well. The traditional version is called A Soldier’s Song and dates back to 1910, although it wasn’t until 1926 it became the national anthem. 

Soldiers are we,

whose lives are pledged to Ireland,

Some have come

from a land beyond the wave,

Sworn to be free,

no more our ancient sireland,

Shall shelter the despot or the slave.

Tonight we man the gap of danger,

In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal,

’Mid cannon’s roar and rifles’ peal,

We’ll chant a soldier’s song 

The second anthem is in Gaelic, and is called ‘Ireland’s Call’ which was written with the ideology of recognising a fractured Ireland. It was first used for the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 

Come the day and come the hour,

Come the power and the glory!

We have come to answer our country’s call,

From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland,

Together standing tall!

Shoulder to shoulder,

We’ll answer Ireland’s call!

Scotland – Flower of Scotland

Although this isn’t the official national anthem, Flower of Scotland has been used at a variety of sporting events including rugby union. Roy Williamson from the group the Corries penned the lyrics, in reference to the Scots victory over Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. 

O Flower of Scotland,

When will we see

Your like again,

That fought and died for,

Your wee bit hill and glen,

And stood against him,

Proud Edward’s army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

Those days are past now,

And in the past

they must remain,

But we can still rise now,

And be the nation again,

That stood against him,

Proud Edward’s army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

Wales – Land of my Fathers

The Welsh are arguably the most passionate fans when it comes to rugby, and their national anthem will be sure to give you goose bumps when sung in full voice. It originates from Evan James and the tune is composed by his son James James. It was first sung at a rugby match in 1905, some 114 years ago. 

The old land of my fathers is dear to me,

Land of bards and singers, famous men of renown;

Her brave warriors, very splendid patriots,

For freedom shed their blood.

Nation [or country], Nation, I am faithful to my Nation.

While the sea [is] a wall to the pure, most loved land,

O may the old language endure. 

Italy – Brothers of Italy

Written in 1847 by student Goffredo Mameli, Brothers of Italy has been the national anthem since 1946 when Italy became a republic after World War Two. The Six Nations whipping boys did have various other anthems throughout the 18th century but Brothers of Italy has always remained popular. 

Brothers of Italy,

Italy has woken,

Bound Scipio’s helmet

Upon her head.

Where is Victory?

Let her bow down,

For God created her

Slave of Rome.

CHORUS

Let us join in a cohort,

We are ready to die.

We are ready to die,

Italy has called.

Let us join in a cohort,

We are ready to die.

We are ready to die,

Italy has called! Yes!

France – La Marseillaise

Penned in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, La Marseillaise was quickly adopted by French revolutionists and became the national anthem three years later. The song acquired its nickname quite simply as protesters would travel from Marseille to Paris to support the revolution. 

Arise, children of the Fatherland,

The day of glory has arrived!

Against us tyranny’s

Bloody banner is raised, (repeat)

Do you hear, in the countryside,

The roar of those ferocious soldiers?

They’re coming right into your arms

To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

To arms, citizens,

Form your battalions,

Let’s march, let’s march!

Lest an impure blood

Soak our fields!

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