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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 15 May 2021

Top of the pops: which 6 Nations anthem is best, would put the fear of God in you?

Remember, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer. Unless you pick Ireland’s Call.

UNTIL SIMON ZEBO did that weird flicky-kicky thing, one of the few things that Six Nations fans could agree on regardless of nationality was this: the six “national anthems” are absolutely boss.

But it got us thinking — which of the six is the best? Is it the alpha-male boom of Land of My Fathers (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau)? Or the mournful lament of Flower of Scotland? The “lads on tour” bounciness of the Italian anthem? Or the historical weight of France’s?

(There’s no point entertaining the thought that Ireland or England might win. They’re definite candidates for the wooden spoon.)

We asked our finest minds to put their heads together, rank their favourites from one to six, and leave a brief explanation. As you’ll see, the quality of response varies dramatically.

*drumroll please*

6. God Save the Queen

YouTube Credit: MrJbquin

Short enough not to lose its way, with a tune that can easily be appropriated by anything else (see also, ‘My Country ‘Tis Of Thee’).
I’ve no problem with HRH but she needs a new theme tune. How about Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever”? Despite a worrying level of panpipes, there’d never have been a question how Croke Park would react to that.
If you love your country and your monarch, the second half is nice and powerful, though hardly intimidating. It’s just a pity you have to sit through the first part to get to it.
Don’t believe in god, not a fan of monarchy. Double whammy.

5. Ireland’s Call

YouTube Credit: MrJbquin

The sentiment is great and all that but…
Doesn’t inspire me with as much hate and anger as most people, but it’s awful monotonous.
A bit of a box-ticking exercise, and with all due credit to Phil Coulter, could have been written by someone in primary school.
If that’s Ireland’s call, I’m not answering #amiright?

4. Flower of Scotland

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YouTube Credit: MrJbquin

It’s the only one I know all the words to.

Not nearly enough life, rousing quality, no vocal range, bizarre melismatic minor seventh thing going on… nope. Just nope.
The saddest of all the anthems, but it makes you want to avenge something. Anything.
Hairs on the back of the neck stuff. My favourite of the bunch.

3. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

YouTube Credit: MrJbquin

Hen Wlad Fy Nhada indeed.
Utterly perfect for the sort of country it is. Top notch stuff for a male voice choir – doesn’t go for the upbeat version, but instead a steadfast affirmation of heritage. Bliss.
Not great for a late-night Harcourt Street singalong, unless you’re actually Welsh of course.
It’s right tidy.

2. La Marseillaise

YouTube Credit: enjoyvideoclips

“Pow! Have some of that, fils,” they say.
I particularly like the bit where they say the enemy is coming to slit your throat. Like a French version of the boogeyman.
Catchy. Just damn catchy. Also has a nice minor to lead you back into a rousing major bit.
You’d imagine with such an inspirational anthem they’d be better at war and such.

1. Il Canto degli Italiani

YouTube Credit: MrJbquin

1:37 of drunk rugby fans singing ‘Ee – tal – ee – ah’ over and over again.

Apart from the fact that the instrumental bit always reminds me of the theme tune to Keeping Up Appearances, it’s class.

‘Italia, Italia….’ and so on. Brilliant, rousing.

So rousing! So Michael Schumacher circa 2003!

Which of the six is your favourite?

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