WALES v England is one of the oldest rugby rivalries in Britiain - and in a border area like Gwent, some will find their loyalties divided tomorrow.
In some households and workplaces, tomorrow's Six Nations match will turn husband against wife, friend against friend, workmate against workmate.
In Chepstow, the Coach and Horses pub will divide itself into two, with the English side of the border town pub bedecked with the flag of St George, while the Welsh side will fly the flag for God’s Own Country.
Chepstow residents will show their loyalty by choosing one side or the other of the pub to watch the game.
Landlord Ian Meyrick said: “Chepstow is very much a border town and while places like Newport and Cardiff are pretty much Welsh, Chepstow is roughly 50/50, which is why we decorate the pub.
“We always have a great laugh with the winning side taking the mick out of the losing side, it’s a jolly good banter.”
Visitor Terry Carey, from London, said: “We came up for the racing and the rugby, but we didn’t realise the pub did this – it’s fantastic. I will definitely be on the English side on Sunday cheering the boys on. It should be great craic.”
Mitchel Troy councillor Geoff Burrows said: “I’ve lived in Wales for 34 years now and my wife Tina is Welsh, but I will most definitely support England. There will be some real tension in the Burrows household on Sunday – Tina says when England do well I am triumphalist while when Wales do well she is magnanimous. I will probably be outnumbered but I will be backing England all the way.”
In Abergavenny, the Baker household won’t see too much of a fight as Reading-born Julian Baker has adopted Wales as his team of choice.
“I always supported England even though I mainly grew up in Wales,” he said. “But when I took my daughter out on a rugby day a few years ago, and she was proudly wearing her rugby shirt and hat, I looked at her and realised both my daughters are 100 per cent Welsh, as is my wife, Christine, and I felt I am too. It’s definitely an easier life supporting Wales in a family of Welsh women!”
A less harmonious household will be found in Ebbw Vale, when Blaenau Gwent Council worker Chris Smith and his five sons will outnumber his Welsh wife six to one.He said: “I’m from London originally and have lived in Wales since 1985, but my five sons were all born in England and we are all England supporters. My wife will be in her Wales top come Sunday, while we will wear our England tops. But I’m sure my friends and neighbours will rib me if we lose.”
Gareth Bounds, 28, is assistant golf manager at the Celtic Manor Resort. He is a loyal Welsh rugby supporter, but his boss isn’t.
He said: “We’ve had a wager the past few years, but he’s never paid up. He always gets a bit of stick. I’ll definitely be mentioning it on Monday. If we lose I’ll try my best to avoid him, but he’d probably find a way to get me to his office.”
Matt Barnby, 32 is operational golf manager at the resort. He denied knowledge of the wagers and said: “My mum’s English and my dad is Welsh, but I’m English when it comes to rugby. I think England will pip it. It’s a big deal when you’re English working in Wales. It goes on for the whole year, getting reminded about it."
London-born Monmouth MP David Davies, who grew up in Newport, said there is no question of him supporting anyone but Wales. He said: “I’m very excited about the game, as is my son, so I’m sure we will be watching it together.We wish Wales all the very best, and know we will do well - especially with the excellent Sam Warburton who recently pointed out you can be proud to be both Welsh and British.”
The match kicks off at 3pm tomorrow.