Maro Itoje has declared his choice to refrain from participating in the rendition of the England rugby anthem “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Nevertheless, he affirms that he does not endorse the notion of forbidding fans from singing it at Twickenham.
The RFU conducted an assessment of the song, which has its roots in an American slave spiritual. The examination acknowledged that many supporters were oblivious to its historical beginnings.
In a statement, the RFU said: “The RFU has stated it will not ban Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as it has a long-held place in rugby history however, the Union will use its social media and event audiences to proactively educate fans on the history and provenance of the song as well as providing platforms for diverse voices across the game.”
Ex-England hooker Brian Moore said he “hated it” and former England Women flanker Maggie Alphonsi said it no longer “sits easy” with her.
“I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do but, personally, I won’t sing this song anymore,” Itoje 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.
Three players Steve Borthwick should call-up after this weekend
Exploring potential additions to the squad ahead of their clash with Wales next weekend, we pinpoint three players whom the England boss should consider calling up.
#1. Kyle Sinckler
Coach Borthwick has disclosed that he and his coaching team have communicated specific areas of improvement to the Bristol Bears’ tighthead prop for a potential squad return. However, speculation arises about whether there are additional factors contributing to his exclusion.
Adding to the intrigue, Sinckler is strongly linked to a move to the Top 14 for the 2024/25 season, posing as a possible explanation for his current omission. There are reports suggesting a recent journey to France, with indications of a medical examination at Toulon.
While the performances of Will Stuart and Dan Cole in Rome may not have been exceptional, the question lingers: on his best days, Sinckler remains the premier English tighthead. If England is serious about making a substantial impact in the 2024 Six Nations, Sinckler’s prowess could be pivotal.