Graphic badge with the title 'top scorer' in bold, stylized font, featuring the default kit.
The image seems to be a low-resolution or blurred grayscale logo, likely related to football, but specific details are indiscernible.

What Is a Rugby Anthem?

A worn rugby ball resting on a muddy field at sunset.

Ever wondered why crowds at rugby matches burst into passionate song? Rugby anthems, like Ireland’s Call, stir deep emotions and rally fans and players alike. Our blog will explore these powerful tunes, their history, controversies, and how they unite supporters.

Discover the roar behind the rugby songs!

Key Takeaways

  • Rugby anthems, such as “Ireland’s Call” and the Welsh National Anthem, play a crucial role in creating a sense of national pride and unity among players and fans at matches.
  • Anthems like “Land of My Fathers” and “God Save the Queen/King” have deep historical roots that contribute to their significance at rugby games, where they evoke strong emotional responses from crowds.
  • Controversies can arise over anthem choices due to political sensitivities or the exclusion of regional songs, which may lead to feelings of underrepresentation within different communities.
  • The singing of rugby anthems before matches provides an opportunity for individuals from various backgrounds to come together in solidarity, celebrating their shared love for the sport despite cultural differences.
  • Modern renditions of traditional hymns and patriotic tunes at rugby matches reflect the evolving nature of these anthems while maintaining their ability to unite diverse groups.

The History of Rugby Anthems

Rugby anthems have a rich history rooted in the tradition of national anthems. They play a vital role in sports, including rugby, and have evolved over time to become an integral part of the game.

Origins of national anthems

National anthems draw their roots from the deep desire of nations to express pride and unity. Often marches or hymns, they serve as powerful celebratory anthems that encapsulate a country’s history, traditions, and values.

Picture the scene at an international rugby match – fans stand shoulder-to-shoulder, voices united in song, belting out lyrics that resonate with national identity.

While many countries have long-established national anthems used at sporting events like the Rugby World Cup, unique cases exist as well. Take “Ireland’s Call,” for instance; composed by Phil Coulter in the 1990s specifically for Irish rugby matches during the World Cup.

This anthem stands alongside “Amhran na bhFiann,” Ireland’s official national anthem but is particularly special because it unites players and supporters from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland under one song.

Such creations reflect how sports can inspire new traditions that foster unity across different communities within a nation.

Importance of anthems in sports

Transitioning from the historical and cultural significance of anthems to their importance in sports, rugby anthems play a crucial role in building team spirit and connecting with fans.

These melodies not only evoke feelings of national pride but also serve as a unifying force, representing the collective identity of both players and supporters. From invoking emotions before a match to fostering a sense of belonging, rugby anthems create an electric atmosphere that brings everyone together, transcending individual differences and celebrating the shared passion for the sport.

The emotional impact of these anthems goes beyond mere symbolism; it fuels the players’ determination on the field while stirring up fervor among fans. Whether it’s belting out lyrics or humming along to familiar tunes, these songs have become an integral part of rugby culture, reflecting deep-rooted sentiments that resonate with all those present.

Evolution of rugby anthems

Rugby anthems have a rich history and have evolved significantly over time. The practice of playing national anthems before matches dates back to the early 20th century when it became a symbol of national pride and unity.

Rugby anthems also saw changes with the inclusion of regional songs like “Ireland’s Call” for representing specific regions or communities. This evolution reflects the dynamic cultural landscape in which rugby is played, highlighting the importance of embracing diversity within the sport.

The evolution also extends to the style and composition of rugby anthems. While traditional hymns and marches were once prevalent, modern anthems now encompass a wider variety of musical genres and styles, reflecting the multicultural nature of rugby teams and their fans.

Commonly Used Rugby Anthems

Ireland’s Call, the Welsh National Anthem, Delilah, Hymns and Arias, and God Save the Queen/King are some of the commonly used rugby anthems that evoke passion and pride among players and fans.

Each anthem holds significant cultural and historical meaning for their respective teams and supporters.

Ireland’s Call

“Ireland’s Call” is a song by Phil Coulter used as a national anthem by some sports competitors representing the island of Ireland. Commissioned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in the 1990s for the 1995 World Cup, it was intended to be unifying, bridging both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Despite not being Ireland’s official national anthem (“Amhran na bhFiann”), “Ireland’s Call” is sung passionately by players and fans before matches, serving as an emotional tie that brings people together.

This anthem has become synonymous with the sense of identity and pride felt by Irish rugby fans worldwide.

Welsh National Anthem

The Welsh national anthem is “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau,” which translates to “Land of My Fathers.” It was written by Evan James and composed by his son, James James, in the 1850s. The song expresses love for Wales and its people, reflecting the nation’s history, culture, and pride.

When sung at rugby matches or other events, it evokes a strong sense of unity and passion among players and fans alike. The stirring melody and powerful lyrics make it an integral part of Welsh identity and a symbol of resilience and determination.

In addition to being performed before Wales’ international rugby matches at venues like the Principality Stadium in Cardiff or during the Six Nations tournament, “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” is also sung with great fervor by supporters in the stands.


“Delilah” is a popular anthem among Welsh rugby fans, symbolising their passion and support for the national team. The song by Tom Jones has become synonymous with Welsh rugby matches, creating an electric atmosphere in stadiums as fans passionately sing along.

Its catchy melody and rousing lyrics have made it a cherished part of the pre-match build-up, uniting supporters in their shared love for the sport and national pride.

Tom Jones’ “Delilah” has evolved to become more than just a song; it embodies the spirit of Wales’ rugby culture and serves as a powerful rallying cry that ignites fervour among fans.

Hymns and Arias

Moving on from the passionate anthem “Delilah,” rugby matches often feature solemn hymns and patriotic anthems. These melodies, like “Hymns and Arias,” are a powerful symbol of national identity and pride for the participating teams.

When these tunes cascade through the stadium, they stir deep emotions in players and fans alike, evoking a sense of unity and belonging. Whether it’s the stirring notes of “God Save the Queen” or the heartfelt rendition of “Fields of Athenry,” these anthems create an electric atmosphere that adds to the intensity and drama of every rugby match.

God Save the Queen/King

After exploring the powerful emotions stirred by anthems such as “Hymns and Arias,” it’s essential to recognise the significance of “God Save the Queen/King” in the realm of Rugby.

This anthem serves as a symbol of tradition and heritage, evoking national pride for players and fans alike. With its origins dating back to the 18th century, “God Save the Queen/King” has become deeply intertwined with England’s rugby culture, creating an undeniable sense of unity and identity when it resounds across stadiums.

Its timeless melody encapsulates a deep-rooted connection with history and patriotism that resonates within every note. Whether sung at home or away matches, “God Save the Queen/King” stands as a poignant reminder of strength, resilience, and unwavering support for those who proudly represent their nation on the rugby field.

Controversies Surrounding Rugby Anthems

Some controversies surrounding rugby anthems include the exclusion of regional anthems and the political and cultural sensitivities that can arise from certain anthem choices. These issues can affect the sense of inclusivity and representation for different communities within the sport.

Exclusion of regional anthems

England, Scotland, and Wales have their individual national anthems, but when it comes to rugby matches, the anthem “God Save the Queen” is played for England. However, there isn’t a designated national anthem for England during sporting events.

This has led to controversy as many feel that regional anthems such as “Jerusalem” or “Land of My Fathers” should be included to represent each nation within the United Kingdom. The absence of specific regional anthems has sparked discussions about inclusivity and cultural representation in international rugby matches.

The exclusion of regional anthems has been a point of contention among fans and players from Scotland, Wales, and England. Many believe that incorporating distinctive anthems would better reflect the diverse identities within the UK and enhance the sense of pride and unity for each nation’s team during international rugby tournaments.

Political and cultural sensitivities

Political and cultural sensitivities surrounding rugby anthems have been a topic of debate, primarily due to the exclusion of regional anthems. These exclusions often stem from historical complexities and differing political perspectives within the nations represented in international rugby competitions.

The use of specific anthems can be seen as a statement or representation of certain cultural identities, leading to discussions about inclusivity and recognition on a global stage.

Among these sensitivities is the choice of anthems representing different regions or groups within a nation. This has led to ongoing discussions around whether all communities are adequately acknowledged through these rituals, addressing broader questions about national identity and representation.

The Impact of Rugby Anthems on Players and Fans

Rugby anthems evoke a sense of identity and pride in players, creating an emotional connection with their country. They also have the power to unite fans from different communities under a shared love for the sport.

Sense of identity and pride

Rugby anthems play a vital role in fostering a sense of identity and pride among players and fans. When the anthem plays before a match, it serves as a powerful reminder of the heritage and values that players represent on the field.

The emotional connection to the anthem unites fans from different backgrounds, evoking a shared sense of national pride and solidarity. For instance, when ‘Ireland’s Call’ is sung at Irish rugby matches, it symbolises unity for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, creating a strong sense of identity for players and supporters alike.

The use of rugby anthems also allows teams to express their cultural uniqueness through music. The selection of specific anthems reflects historical contexts, contributing to the rich tapestry of rugby traditions.

For example, Wales’ passionate rendition of ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land Of My Fathers)’ represents an integral part of Welsh culture and history, igniting a deep-seated pride among both players and spectators.

Emotional connection

Rugby anthems evoke a powerful emotional connection among players and fans. The singing of national hymns like “Ireland’s Call” or “God Save the Queen” before matches creates a sense of identity and pride for both athletes and supporters.

It unites different communities under one flag, fostering a shared spirit that transcends individual differences. This emotional tie to the anthem fuels passion, determination, and an unwavering commitment not only to represent their nation but also to honor its legacy on the rugby field.

The emotional resonance of rugby anthems extends beyond mere symbolism – it shapes the atmosphere in stadiums worldwide. For example, when the Welsh National Anthem echoes through Principality Stadium, it ignites fervent enthusiasm among spectators as they passionately join in singing ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’.

Uniting different communities

Rugby anthems have a unique ability to unite different communities, creating a shared sense of identity and pride. When players and fans join in singing the anthem, regardless of their backgrounds, they become part of something larger than themselves.

This powerful emotional connection fosters a feeling of solidarity among diverse groups, transcending cultural and political differences.

The inclusion of anthems such as ‘Ireland’s Call’ and the Welsh National Anthem demonstrates how rugby embraces and celebrates the diversity within its community. These anthems provide an opportunity for individuals from various backgrounds to come together under one symbol, fostering harmony and togetherness beyond traditional boundaries.


In conclusion, rugby anthems play a significant role in the sport, fostering a sense of identity and pride among players and fans. The emotional connection they create unites communities and inspires passion on the field.

While controversies exist surrounding regional exclusions and sensitivities, these anthems remain an integral part of the game, adding to its rich history and tradition.


1. What exactly is a rugby anthem?

A rugby anthem is an emotional and spirited song that fans and teams chant together during matches to boost morale, exhibit national pride, or honor their team.

2. Can you give me an example of a famous rugby anthem?

“The Soldier’s Song” is famously sung by Irish fans in support of the Irish team, especially known for stirring passion at rugby games.

3. Are some rugby anthems also protest songs?

Yes, certain anthems like “Fields of Athenry,” which began as protest songs by bands like The Cranberries, are now embraced as passionate chants during rugby matches.

4. Why do teams have special songs they sing at games?

Teams use these powerful anthems to unite supporters, create a home-field advantage atmosphere and inspire players out on the pitch with resounding collective energy.

Related News

Rugby tactics have changed a lot in ten years. Teams now play smarter, using new...
Rugby fans love a good surprise, and the latest global rankings are full of them....
Rugby’s thrilling action comes with a risk of injury, challenging players and fans alike. Smart...
Feeling the rush of fierce rugby showdowns? Rivalries in rugby hold a storied past, painting...
As rugby fans, we’ve all winced at the hard hits and injuries players endure on...
Are you curious about the growth of rugby in emerging nations? The global participation in...
Rugby isn’t just for the boys; women are making big waves too. With over 2.7...
Rugby is tough, not just in the tackles but in the mind too. It demands...
Struggling to keep up on the rugby field? You’re not alone. This blog post packs...