Maro Itoje has revealed he will no longer sing England rugby anthem Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but he does not believe supporters should be banned from singing it at Twickenham.
The RFU recently conducted a review of the song – originally an American slave spiritual – conceding that many supporters were unaware of its roots.
“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’s origins are rooted in US slavery, however, and it is believed to have been written by the American slave Wallace Willis around the 1860s.
ITOJE’S TOUGHEST OPPONENTS:
#3. Charles Piutau
Itoje said: ”For me it’s always those quick guys you can’t quite get a hold of that give me the most trouble for sure. I’m not sure if I’ve played him this year but Piutau is a real handful.”