Maro Itoje Decides to Stop Singing England Anthem, Says It 'Shouldn't Be Banned' - Ruck

Maro Itoje Decides to Stop Singing England Anthem, Says It ‘Shouldn’t Be Banned’

Maro Itoje has announced his decision to abstain from singing the England rugby anthem “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

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However, he maintains that he doesn’t support the idea of prohibiting fans from singing it at Twickenham.

The RFU recently carried out an evaluation of the song, which originates from an American slave spiritual. The review acknowledged that numerous supporters were unaware of its historical origins.

“I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do but, personally, I won’t sing this song anymore,” he said when speaking with French newspaper L’Equipe..

“I sang it before when I was naive and didn’t know its origins but, knowing now the context in the creation of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, it’s not an anthem that I’m going to repeat anymore.”

It is believed the song was first sung at Twickenham when Martin “Chariots” Offiah featured at the 1987 Middlesex Sevens tournament. In 1988 it became popular among England supporters when Chris Oti scored a hat-trick against Ireland.

The song, which has been a staple at England matches since 1987, came under review by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in 2020 due to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Although the RFU decided not to ban the song, attributed to Wallace Willis, a freed slave from the 19th century, they produced a video explaining its historical context and stopped using it in marketing and merchandise.

Telegraph picks 2025 British & Irish Lions squad with Marcus Smith missing out

With the conclusion of the Six Nations, marked by England’s resurgence and Ireland’s triumphant performance once again, The Telegraph have revisited their squad predictions.

Check out who they selected below.


  • Zander Fagerson (Scotland)
  • Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
  • Finlay Bealham (Ireland)
  • Andrew Porter (Ireland)
  • Ellis Genge (England)
  • Pierre Schoeman (Scotland)
Ellis Genge, Captain of England during the Summer Nations Series Rugby match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK


  • Dewi Lake (Wales)
  • Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
  • Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)