Friday, November 30, 2007
England, Jerusalem and next year's World Cup Finals in Australia....
The British Rugby League national team has in the past, usually completed as 'Great Britain'. However, last month's 3 match series against New Zealand was the very last time that GB as a team will ever play. It has now been disbanded and all the home nations have gone their seperate ways. (If they should all get together again as a touring party in the future then they will be play as the RU boys do under the title of 'The Lions').
Next year, the Rugby League World Cup will be held in Australia, and England and Scotland will be competing as national teams, There is therefore a real opportunity to try to persuade the Rugby League authorities in Leeds that Jerusalem should be our anthem of choice, especially as it is traditional that before every Rugby League Grand Final (the sports equivalent to the FA Cup Final) it is traditional that before the match kicks off, a selected classical singer walks onto the pitch and sings Jerusalem. The whole crowd of 68.000 join in. I listened to this year's event on the radio - and the singing of the hymn was simply fantastic.
This is what the official Grand Final site said about the pre-match entertainment -
'In the final moments before the teams walk out, the award winning Yorkshire born Lesley Garrett will sing a special arrangement of the hymn Jerusalem - the traditional anthem of the Super League Grand Final. She regularly appears in both opera, in concert and on television and has won massive critical acclaim as a recording artist; she also has eleven solo CD to her credit.
And Lesley says she is already looking forward to performing a song which she believes is highly appropriate for a major sporting occasion: ‘Jerusalem for me is most associated with sport and music and the very best situation in which to sing it is in front of 65,500 people waiting for kick-off!” She added: “It’s a song I have sung for many years and I particularly love this arrangement with the drums because it gives it such extra power and excitement. “I am thrilled to be singing it for this special engage Super League Grand Final and I know just what an exciting and emotional day it will be for everyone!”
She could have mentioned that Jerusalem is a song associated exclusively with England, but never mind, the precedent is set. They play Jerusalem as a traditional curtain raiser to their most prestigious domestic occassion - so in theory, it cannot be much of a leap of the imagination to use the hymn as England's anthem for next year's world cup, can it?
Apparently, the RFL are deciding the team logistics right now.
This is my email to the RFL HQ.
I understand that now the final GB v NZ test match series has been played, the home nations are going their own seperate ways.
In future, England will have her own team, and be playing as such in next year's Rugby League World Cup. That's something I really support, but can you tell me, will we also be having our own anthem as well before each match?
A couple of months ago, I saw the Grand Final at Old Trafford between St Helens and Leeds - and was completely knocked out by the singing of 'Jerusalem' before the action started. It was fantastic. As everyone sang for all they were worth.... and I mean, 'everyone', I would suggest that Jerusalem would make a superb anthem for the England Rugby League team - not only is it a stirring and uplifting tune, but it also actually mentions England in the words - and so is more than appropriate to be our anthem.
And as was proved on Grand Final night, it is fantastically popular amongst the ordinary people of England.
PLEASE do not go the route of picking God Save the Queen - and copying the RU and Football teams - it is the UK anthem and so, has nothing to do with England - and you can bet your life that Scotland will be picking their own anthem rather than GSTQ.
Can you please let me know asap which song you intend to use for all future England National Rugby League team matches.
Alfred the OK.