Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Why England are not the most popular nation at the Rugby World Cup. And that's putting it mildly.

It’s time for Englishmen now abed to admit what too many of us have known for too long. Poms are not the most popular of people.

And when it comes to the current Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the Red Rose is giving off a distinctly dodgy aroma.

So far, Martin Johnson’s side have managed a narrow 13-9 win over Argentina and an unsatisfying 41-10 victory over Georgia. Next up: Romania. A win over the gypsy nation is hardly likely to lead to a burst of enthusiasm, especially with the forced eviction of travellers at Dale Farm hogging the headlines on Sky News.

Between those two unspectacular victories, Mr Zara Phillips – also known as veteran England centre Mike Tindall – managed to get a nightclub manager fired and arrested for posting a video of his wild night out with a full-breasted female Kiwi. And all this whilst his team-mates were attending a boozy dwarf-throwing contest.

Today, boss Johnson – the former World Cup-winning ogre with the joined eyebrows who has never coached a club side and exhibits few of the traits we associate with a national manager – is apparently launching a “charm offensive” to put right this awful injustice.

Lots of autograph signing, plenty of friendly media appearances, lots of sympathy for Christchurch earthquake victims. You know the sort of thing.

It ain’t gonna work. I mean, look at our history. Since the post-Roman era, the Anglo-Saxons have tended to colonise nations – just ask the local Maori historians in Wellington – rather than cuddle them. Often using weapons of mass destruction.

Before the invention of gunpowder, we used thousands of working class scruffs and quasi-religious fervour to crush the kilts out of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh. And as our proud nation developed, we chose concentration camps and machine guns to deal with the locals in South Africa, Kenya, India etc etc.

More recently, we have chosen Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to blood our Sandhurst graduates from the playing fields of Eton and Harrow.

Not the best way to win a popularity contest. Germany aren’t at this World Cup. But France are. And the Italians. Don’t even ask.

It doesn’t help that so many of the current England squad aren’t even subjects. Matt Stevens, the little South African prop with an historic dope problem, is back from his two-year cocaine suspension to add his curious aksent to the mix.

Then there’s Shontayne Edward Hape, the 30-year-old New Zealand rugby league international born in Auckland. He played 14 games for the Kiwis before deciding he was English.

Hooker Dylan Hartley, born in Rotorua 25 years ago, is in the squad, along with Leicester's Samoan-born centre Manu Tuilagi, famous for punching England team-mates. He scored two tries against the luckless Georgians.

Kiwi centre Riki Flutey, the former Maori captain, is on stand-by to fly out, as is Saracens lock Mouritz Botha, from Vryheid in South Africa. Like the world-beating England cricket team which features South African-born Kevin Pietersen, Matthew Prior, Jonathan Trott, Jade Dernbach, Craig Kieswetter and even captain Andrew Strauss, passports tend to be overlooked in the quest for glory.

And the latest call-up? That’s New Zealander Thomas Waldrom, 27, flying in as back-up for crocked No8 Nick Easter.

Waldrom, born in Lower Hutt and nicknamed “The Tank Engine” at Leicester, has an English grandmother. Even Pietersen managed an English mother.

With Waldrom, Hape and Hartley wearing the Red Rose rather than the Silver Fern, New Zealanders may be excused for wondering what’s going on. England boasts a world-beating 166,672 registered senior players while New Zealand have just 27,374 to choose from according to the latest International Rugby Board figures.

So the least popular side at this World Cup were greeted by about 100 hardy fans at Auckland Airport at the start of the tournament. No great fanfare for the all-whites who have chosen to wear a locally-reviled all-black away strip at this World Cup.

A poll of fans in New Zealand will simply confirm what Limeys, Rooineks and Poms have always known: We are the least popular nation at this odd-shaped-ball fest.

England, once described as the “great white orcs” in the nation which gave birth to the Lord of the Rings movies, are pure evil.

Which isn’t to say they might just raise the Union Jack over this World Cup with a bit more stiff upper lip. Just wish they could do it with a little more panache.


  1. Hmmmm....... So how many Samoans have played for the All Blacks over the years then?

  2. Ey up - ignorant history lesson alert.
    FYI, it was the BRITISH Empire which did the colonising of Africa, New Zealand etc, NOT the English.

    Oh, and our flag is not the Union Jack, it's the flag of St George. Hope that's clear.

  3. Oh yeah, almost forgot. The Welsh & Scots did just as much invading into English lands as England did to theirs - more so in the case of Scotland. List every battle & skirmish between the 2 countries and you will find that well over half are actually on English soil - Scottish forces were doing the invading.

    In future, I suggest you buy a few books to gen up before you commit a single word to the screen, that way, you won't look so foolish.

  4. You grew up in South Africa and it seems you have a real loathing of the English. Pretty racist comments if you ask me.... please don't come back to live here!

  5. What a brilliant piece! A truly modern nation still bowing to "royalty"....

  6. Neal,

    This is not the attitude of an Englishman writing here. This has the stench of an adopted South African who fled back to blighty when the going got tough.

    You have spent far too much time with the Saffas that you have become one. If you love South Africa so much why not return there.

    These words are precisely the attitude of a South African with a chip on their shoulder because they are jealous of the great society in England.

    Every major team has imports in it INCLUDING your beloved South Africa. New Zealand have foreigners as do Australia, Italy has many and even Ireland have an American but you choose to slam England? Why ? It's that chip on your shoulder.

    My advice is to relax now that you are safe back in blighty where there is no need for electric fences and armed response. Here where the electricity stays on everyone gets on and the only chip you will find here is next to the fish on your plate.

    And lastly "aksent" and not "accent" really ? Hard to take you seriously when you ignore the facts and you can't spell.

    Lose the spite and relax. Leave the anger in SA. We don't need it here.


  7. It becomes abundantly clear how far the Brits have got up their own a$%holes - they cannot for a moment conceive that the rest of the world does not like them. Can't even build cars anymore!

  8. Thanks for the responses guys... blightedboy, I've actually been living back in South Africa for eight months looking after me old dad... great country. Not a gunfight in sight... unlike those riots in Blighty a while back. Well aware of the difference between the flag of St George and the Union Jack... effectively we crushed the Irish and Scots and made them flight under the flag (and I'm not talking about the Olympics!). I don't hate England, just fascinated how people feel about us when we're in foreign lands.

  9. So the fact that you are back in SA proves my point!

    You are not an Englishman you are an adopted South African. Just as I said your comments are from a South African point of view. Thanks for proving me right.

    Kindly refrain from using the "we" or "us" when you refer to the English. Carry on supporting your Bokke.

    Funny how your one eye was closed when the ANC Youth League were rioting in Johannesburg and you forgot to mention that but you mention some riots in London.

    That's about as weak as running scared from a country when you get called up for national service even though you were educated there and clearly love the country. It's called paying your dues.

    Never mind, we will keep paying our taxes so that when you realise that you are in Fool's Paradise you can come back and claim your pension.


  10. Still anonymous Blighted Boy? I'm English. Always have been, always will be... but that doesn't mean I'm blind to the past. Read the piece again.

  11. NZ won their only RWC with an Englishman at 10. There is a barely a NZ born player in the team.

    SA has always raided Zimbabwe (eg Krige, Garvey) and Namibia (eg Monty) for players and their bright new hope Lmabie is a Pom. Australia's best ever 9 was a Zambian and the side is always full of reconstituted Saffas and Islanders.

    The English are hated not because they are arrogant. By golly you only have to spend 10 minutes with the religous zealots that make up the Bokke (dont get me started on Botha and Spies!) to realise the English lag in this regard. NZ who seem to think you can copyright a colour have taken the natural Aussie arrogance to new levels.

    The English are hated because in matters rugby they are winners. You may not like their turgid style but you know they will get to the final. 3 times in a row. And if its Australia they meet they are bang on certain to win. Penalty kicks, rolling mauls, slowed possession you know what's coming. And the Aussies cant handle it. The English just need them to turn over the Boks and NZ on successive weekends. Unlikely but possible. England champs 2 out of 3.

    Then the world can have more reason to hate the English. Because if there is one thing Saffas and Nz'ers hate most of all... well its other people's success. You only have to see the jealousy that Julius Melema incurs with his successfuly forays into the business world to see that reaction

    (I am kidding on the last point!)

  12. I've found it to be a tricky balancing act between acknowledging the past and not cosying up to your 'adoptive' country. Last year's football world cup had me torn between Bafana and England although neither were good enough.

    Some of my friends had a go at me for this http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/jun/07/south-africa-world-cup-2010. Even though I'm English (and always will be), the editors portrayed me as South African. The comments on the English team were mine however...

    It's good to see you acknowledging how people perceive the English outside of England. Many are oblivious to such negative perceptions. Blightyboy does make a good point though - England isn't alone in naturalising players from other countries. Don't treat England as the exceptional case

    And be careful when making gypsy comments...

  13. Kneel (see! I too can play the humorous game of deliberately mis-spelling someone's name!)

    Whilst it is good to acknowledge and learn from the past, bringing it up every five minutes to demonise a country is lazy.

    What about the French Empire? I'm sure the Spanish are still a little bit pissed off with Napoleon, but you don't mention it.

    Germanic Empire? Roman? Mongolian? No? Just the English you want to have a pop at again and again.

  14. Classic piece Neal - I thought it was a bit tongue in cheek but the comments from Blighty and especially Blightyboy are the most humorous. Comparing riots which affected a substantial part of London to a minor disturbance outside Luthuli house over a morning is quite amusing. It must be said there is quite a difference between a foreign born sportsman playing for another country after he moved to the country as a child and luring an established sportsperson to a country with a financial carrot and the possibility of playing in a world cup tournament for an adopted country. In this light English cricket is a total joke in that their entire top order falls into the latter category - makes you wonder if there are any decent cricketers in England at all. As for Englands black shirt, well 'pathetic' does the word no justice at all. What emblem in Englands noble past has the black colour? hmmm I thought so.

    Finally just a point that gets under my skin alot of the time - why is it that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get to compete as separate nations when they clearly are not so today.

    Keep it up Neal

  15. Dear Anyonmous, Anonymous, Anonymous and Neal. You have to be Brit-centric not to appreciate the maginificent humour and incisive critique in the piece. The Brits are a nation of has-beens practising more racism and intolerance than South Africans. And then to top it all, they have a so-called democracy bowing and scraping to royalty, the members of which are not even of English ancestry. What a joke. And then to think they can dictate and invade countries. Arrogant bastards!

  16. Dear Anonymous,

    I doubt anyone in the country has 100% 'English' ancestry you ignorant retard. And then you go on about the British being more racist? Well done.

    I suppose if all you've got is bitterness then you should nurture it for another 100 years and see where that gets you.

  17. "In this light English cricket is a total joke in that their entire top order falls into the latter category"

    Cry me a fucking river. Perhaps if SA had judged players on merit rather than the colour of their skin in attempt to impose a quota of black players, they'd be playing for SA today.

  18. To Anonymous at 15:26

    Touched a nerve, have we, "ignorant retard"?

    Perhaps it's time for you to leave your little island and discover that there is a world out there....

    Proudly South African

  19. Perhaps it's time for you to climb down from your ivory tower, Proudly South African.

  20. Thinking about it, I'm not sure that the Boks are much loved around the world. Don't let Invictus fool you...

  21. Thought Clint Eastwood had won the argument on that one... no, seriously, I take your point. I worry about the Bok profile... but I'm pretty sure England would win an unpopularity poll... and it worries me.

  22. People are awfully touchy on this subject. The whole idea of people not liking the English because of their achievements is a bit out there. Yes the British Empire sure was impressive but what does that have to do with your rugby team not being liked. There is some truth to the fact that people do get jealous of successful teams or people but the English rugby team is not one of them. Yes you have made some signifigant achievements and no one can take that away from you.
    However one would think a country who invented the sport would have won a world cup a whole lot sooner or even more than one, and yes we know in 2007 you came close (boring)
    The point is it's hard to miss the fact that you have quite a noticeable amount of non British players in your team, and yes you're not the only people who have a fully loaded local team, that much is true.
    P.S Lambie is not a pom, what a slap in the face that is. He was born in Durban but I have heard he has some connection to Scotland.
    *When it comes to the cricket: Yes K.P is a world class cricketer now, he didn't make the cut when he was here because he wasn't good enough and he wasn't willing to stick around and work on it. Boo Hoo.

  23. The most loved teams are usually the underdogs.

  24. England sporting teams are far more representative of the South African sporting teams. Fact. A recent UN report had white saffas at 3.6 million out of 49 million.

    Does the SA Rugby or Cricket team reflect white representation of around 8% ? Not a chance! And you have the cheek to question England selections? What about SA selecting the Beast who is from Zim?

    There are millions of Saffas, Kiwis and Aussies living in England so the England teams are more representative of English society.

    It is fact of life now that people emigrate. It's a global village. People move country. Get over yourself.

    What you should be more concerned about is why so many White educated South Africans have left SA and live in places like England (up to 1mill) Aus (up to 600k) NZ (up to 200k) Canada (100k).

    You lot are so busy mowing our lawn you have forgotten to mow your own.

    If you concentrate on your own problems you might be able to sort out a few problems such as these.

    World leader in AIDS.
    World leader in Murder
    Second place in corruption - (FIFA is first)
    50th most competitive place to do business.
    Second fastest dropping currency for developing nations.
    Shall I go on?

    Blighty Boy

  25. Superb reply Blighty Boy... I'm not arguing with any of that. All I'm saying to Englishmen who sit comfy in their sofas is this: We're not very popular out there. That's fact.

  26. @15h33
    as my compatriot mentioned KP left SA as lower order batsman who tried to bowl some off-spin. He was useless at both, hence he was dropped by the Dolphins. Same goes for Kieswetter who couldnt handle that there were better keepers than him with brown skins.

    @blightyboy or is that blighty-yobbo let me ocrrect you than white people make up 6.5 not 3.6 million out of 49 million in 2010 as for the rest of your drivel - its beyond pathetic - it actually shows why your country had riots recently and why you wonder how it happened. Now I wonder how white English if English descent there are in England - probably around 10% too. Stay on your island loser.

  27. Proudly South African here....

    Quite frankly I find the Brits boring, patronising (for no good reason) arrogant and, generally, dim. Blighty boy, have you ever left your little island? How many languages do you speak? Ever been to Africa? At least here we talk, we debate, we have passion...

    Your greatest export is Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchen, for the rest you toss dwarves...

    Not that I fancy the Boks either but I personally hate the imperialist attitudes I encounter from British visitors to my beloved country, baring their rotten teeth.

  28. Proudly South African,
    I have left the shores of England many times and I know some of your 11 languages. How many do you speak ? From the sounds of it just the one - kak praat.

    Unlike you umfana I am well traveled. I know more of your country than you know of mine.

    You knock England for a lack of exports and yet the industrial revolution started in England. No education?

    What has South Africa exported ? Aside from white people fleeing their homeland ? The great South African invention is the Kreepy Krauly and it wasn't even a South African born man that invented it. And when he made his millions what did he do ? He left and now lives in Florida - no that's not on the West rand - it's in the USA. Come to think of it Atlanta has around 50 000 Saffas.

    Anonymous 16:41, even if we take your incorrect figures is your team representative ? Not a chance. How much longer will the majority of the population be happy with someone with dark skin on the wing? The time bomb is ticking.

    The rest of your post is not even English so I have to ignore it. You can't even spell correct so how can I take you seriously?

    So, now it's late mense so will bid you goodnight. Lala kahle, lekker bly.

    The truth is that the most hated nation is South Africa. Your own people hate you more than anyone hates any other nation in the world. Why else would you need guns and electric fences to keep your country men out?

    Why is SA the murder capital of the world?

    Are the foreigners killing your brothers and sisters ? Does the ANC care about the dwindling numbers of whites? The answer is no.

    South Africa hates itself more than anyone else could hate another country.

    Blightyboy over and out. Totsiens. Slaap lekker.

  29. Blighted Boy, you're clearly a resentful South African ex-pat unhappy in England. You need help. You've missed the point completely, but fascinating to read your bile.

  30. Born and bred in England. Proudly.

  31. God save your queen BB cos u certainly wont

  32. You should be careful Neal, you are supposed to be a responsible journalist and not a racist, or atleast try to keep your own view points to yourself. We haven't missed the point here, you have a real dislike of your home country and use your priviliged position to spout nonsense. Stay in South Africa, with your money earned from tabloid crap

  33. "As for Englands black shirt, well 'pathetic' does the word no justice at all. What emblem in Englands noble past has the black colour? hmmm I thought so."

    So it is ok for the All Blacks to have a white change strip but we cant have a black one? Do I care we have a black strip? Nope...I would never by my country's change strip anyway.

    "Finally just a point that gets under my skin alot of the time - why is it that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get to compete as separate nations when they clearly are not so today."

    Because you spanner, they are seperate countries! Scotland and Wales have their own parliments and make (some of) their own laws. If you call a Scotsman, Irishman or Welshman English, they will soon put you right! We are all proud SEPERATE countries who operate under the umbrella of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Yes I love being English, and am proud to be so. I will never be British, nor God forbid, European! I also love other countries, am widely travelled and speak 4 different languages. This year I married an Aussie and will be proud to call our kids 'half and half'. So not a bigoted 'Little Englander' just one who loves history, rugby, my family, my country, having a laugh, banter and exploring the world! If that means I am hated for being English, do I care? Not one jot! I revel in and enjoy the petty mindedness of the people that hate! So attack my post if you want to, I spend too much time with my friends (of various creeds, colours and from various nations)in the real world to care!

    Good luck to all nations in the RWC, and no, I dont think England will win, but I can dream!

  34. well almighty blighty
    if that is the case can u tell me who the head of state for these 4 separate countries are? hmmm exactly

    i understand that in the past they existed as separate nation states but in todays world, separate countries they are not even if they have their own parliaments who are mandate to make laws affecting their own people. In SA we too have 9 provincial parliaments but we are one nation. It is only because the IRB, FIFA, ICC etc (excluding the IOC) recongnise member federations and not nation states that the united kingdom is able to participate as four countries.

  35. Neal, Neal, Neal. It would be hard to imagine a more ignorant and malicious piece of writing. From the moment you describe Romania as "the Gypsy nation" and attempt to link it to the eviction of Irish travellers from illegally occupied land, you blow your own credentials as a noble anti-racist and indeed person with any intelligence out of the water. And it gets worse from there.

    It's notable that despite the horrendous racism of the English, millions of YOUR countrymen (Irish or South African - it doesn't matter) choose to come here to live and fill their bowls. Why is that?