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This report is taken from PN Review 151, Volume 29 Number 5, May - June 2003.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

Wales is in crisis. You might expect this bald statement to be the prelude to a catalogue of disasters, political, industrial, linguistic or natural. Goodness knows, there are enough reasons in the decline of manufacturing, the legislative impotence of the Assembly, the seeping away of Welsh in its traditional heartlands and, until the chilly lull of the last few weeks, the bleakness of daily rain, to cast us into depression if not despair. But no, the crisis is of a different character. Welsh rugby has gone to pot. Assiduous readers of the back pages of dailies will tell you this is not news; the crisis has simply plumbed new depths.

Welsh rugby has been ailing since 16 February 1980, the well-remembered day when Paul Ringer, open-side wing-forward for Wales, was (some will say unjustly) sent off the field at Twickenham by a referee held like a rabbit in the spotlight of a concerted and virulent attack on the Welsh team by the London-based media - press, radio and television. In common with other travelling supporters from these parts, I have a clear memory of the intensity of anti-Welsh feeling in the crowd stirred by the same media frenzy. Wales has enjoyed brief periods of modest success on the rugby field since, but the trend has continued downwards and things went from bad to worse in 1995, when the amateur administration of the Welsh Rugby Union remained in place while the game turned professional. Few governing bodies in ...
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