The Greatest Show on Earth
Several times a year the streets of Cardiff in Wales are closed to traffic as thousands of rugby supporters converge on this iconic venue for a day of international rugby union. At least half of those wandering the streets have no ticket whilst some of those with tickets never make it out of the bar and into the stadium.
Massed choirs, military bands, fans dressed as chickens, national pride and a keen rivalry make up the day but there is always one unspoken rule. There may be a lot of alcohol swilling around but this is not football; the only violence takes place on the rugby pitch. It's bad form for any kind of aggression between fans. There is no segregation in the stadium, fans of opposing countries sit alongside each other and live out the drama and the tension side by side.
The Welsh are also famed for their prowess at singing. When Wales are losing against the old enemy England with 10 minutes to go, the stadium reverberates with song as 80,000 voices give note perfect renditions of Welsh battle hymns. It's often enough to swing the game their way but, even if it isn't, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you feel the collective power and hope of so many people.
Is it the Greatest Show on Earth? It's certainly one of them...