National anthem at rugby internationals


Sir, – James Connolly Heron (Letters, July 27th) may, unlike myself, be too young to remember that at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in New Zealand (1987) the Irish players stood to attention before each game as a recording of the Rose of Tralee (James Last version) was blared over the tannoy system.

Some of the players looked understandably bemused but by all accounts it was a group decision not to play Amhrán na bhFiann resulting in this compromise. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – James Connolly Heron (Letters, July 27th) asks for an explanation for the “bizarre downgrading” of Amhrán na bhFiann by the singing of Ireland’s Call at away international rugby matches. No such downgrading has taken place, as prior to Ireland’s Call there was no Irish “anthem” sung at away games.

The explanation for this is that the Ireland rugby team represents the whole of the island, and often includes players who consider themselves to be British (and Irish).

Interestingly, the last time Ireland played an international match in Belfast in 2007, only Ireland’s Call was sung. I imagine on that occasion there may well have been a “behind closed doors” meeting where it was decided not to play God Save the Queen, which apparently had been requested.

In the interests of fairness, perhaps it should have been?

– Yours, etc,


East Dulwich,