Rugby World Cup chiefs make controversial decision after England players left baffled

Rugby World Cup England

England players were baffled at the rendition of their national anthem prior to Argentina Rugby World Cup win

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 12/09/2023

- 14:27

Steve Borthwick's side beat Argentina in their opening match of the tournament on Saturday night

England players were left baffled at the way the national anthem of God Save the King was performed on Saturday night prior to their victory against Argentina.

Rugby World Cup chiefs have commissioned school choirs made up of students from all backgrounds to sing before each and every match.

However, despite widespread criticism, tournament organisers apparently have no plans to change things up.

That's according to the Daily Mail, who say bigwigs in Paris will be sticking to their stance of allowing young people to perform the anthems.

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup fans have slammed the way national anthems are being performed


There have been reports that World Rugby will discuss changes to the way anthems are being sung this week amid criticism online.

Yet there are said to be 'no plans to make altercations' prior to the next round of group stage matches.

England players tried to sing God Save the King prior to their stirring win over Argentina on Saturday evening.

However, they looked visibly perplexed as they struggled to stay in sync with the choir's version of the song.

Several former rugby players have criticised the way anthems have been performed at the tournament so far.

Andy Goode said on Twitter: "Can whoever is in charge of all the anthems at the World Cup please stop butchering the life out of them!"

Ex-Ireland star Rob Kearney said pre-recorded videos of children signing are 'killing that five-minute pre-game buzz'.

And another former Ireland player, Brian O'Drischoll, told the Off the Ball podcast: "The anthems have been terrible!

"The two big anthems if we are honest are La Marseillaise and the Italian national anthem. Both of them feel like they've been butchered!

"There is no opportunity for everyone to get in behind it."

Lesley Garrett CBE, who previously performed the national anthem before rugby matches, has also criticised the organisers of the competition.

"The organisers have misunderstood the vital relationship between the anthems, the players and the fans," she said.

"They've misunderstood the purpose of singing at sporting events in my opinion.

"It's absolutely vital through the singing of the national anthem that the team and the fans and the wider audience are given the opportunity to be bound together in what is going to be a massive endeavour.

"A lot of the choirs are pre-recorded and I think the whole essence of the relationship between singing and sport is the fact it's all live and everyone is doing it together."

It's been a mixed start for the home nations at the tournament so far.

England had to dig deep to beat Argentina in their opening match, with George Ford firing them to a 27-10 win.

Scotland endured a rough opening match, losing 18-3 to South Africa in Pool B.

Ireland had no such issue in the same group, battering Romania 82-8 to send out a major statement of intent to their rivals.


George Ford England

George Ford starred for England as Ireland and Wales also won their opening Rugby World Cup matches


And Wales had to survive a late Fiji onslought to beat their opponents 32-26.

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