Andy Farrell, the Ireland head coach, has expressed a contrasting perspective on the contentious England rugby anthem “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Get your tickets for the 2024 Six Nations with viagogo, the world’s leading ticket marketplace.
Maro Itoje, on the other hand, has revealed his decision to refrain from singing it, emphasizing that he does not advocate for preventing fans from singing the anthem at Twickenham.
Recently, the RFU conducted an assessment of the song’s origins, recognizing that many supporters were unaware of its historical ties to an American slave spiritual.
“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.
Farrell said when he was England coach: “It was part of our identity, this is part of English rugby.
“You know, wherever you are around the world with England rugby, you would hear it and you feel like people of the behind you supporting you and you know that they’re proud to be English as well.”
The 30 best rugby players in the world have been ranked, Owen Farrell 29th
#30. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
A rising Irish hooker known for his powerful scrummaging and dynamic play in open field. Sheehan’s agility and tackling prowess make him a vital asset in set pieces and loose play alike, hinting at a promising future in international rugby
#29. Owen Farrell (England)
England’s steadfast captain and fly-half, Farrell’s tactical brilliance and accurate kicking guide his team’s gameplay. Renowned for his leadership, his defensive grit and ability to control the game’s pace make him a linchpin in England’s rugby strategy.
Wales Online wrote: “The 31-year-old has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons recently but is a player you’d rather play with than against. Farrell is a natural leader of men, and will play a crucial role if England are to drag themselves out of the rut they find themselves in.”
#28. Thibaud Flament (France)
A versatile lock for France, Flament’s towering presence in the lineout and ferocious work rate define his style. With his strong carrying and breakdown skills, he is a force to be reckoned with in both set-piece dominance and open-field encounters.
#27. Shannon Frizell (New Zealand)
Frizzell’s imposing physique and aggressive ball-carrying mark him as a formidable All Black flanker. His offloading ability, coupled with his defensive prowess, cements his position as a player who consistently makes his presence felt on the field.
#26. Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
An anchor of the Springboks’ scrum, Kitshoff’s experience and technical expertise are unmatched. His exceptional work rate and relentless tackling contribute to his reputation as a reliable front-row stalwart, key to South Africa’s forward dominance.