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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The choirs must go … Rugby nations to decide on World Cup anthems after outcry

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National rugby unions will be allowed to decide between the classic version of their anthem played at the World Cup or a new one sung by children, sources said on Tuesday.

The rendition performed on the pitch by a youth choir before hosts France’s tournament-opening win over New Zealand drew criticism.

Former Italy winger Mirco Bergamasco and ex-England fly-half Andy Goode were among those to voice concerns during Friday’s game.

After discussions between the World Cup’s organising committee, World Rugby and France’s Sports Minister, a move has been made to allow national governing bodies to choose between the options.

“France 2023 are trying to find a middle ground but as seen, La Marseillaise out of sync is not ideal and it made a cacophony which was not adapted. They’re trying to find a solution, knowing that there were anthems where things went well,” a source said.

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“There has to be a balance found between anthems sung with the strength of rugby and not discouraging the children who have worked hard,” the source added.

In the other seven games of the opening weekend, the anthems, not all with the live children’s choirs, had mixed receptions.

France face Uruguay in the next match of the competition, in Lille, on Thursday.


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