Rory Best on God Save the Queen.
Rory Best has been speaking on UTV documentary Game of Two Halves about the Northern Ireland football team’s usage of ‘God Save the Queen’.
The former rugby player was a proud servant for both Ulster and Ireland throughout the course of his career, and has previously said that he identifies as both British and Irish.
His national identity never got in the way of him playing for and ultimately captaining Ireland, as the Irish rugby team has always been welcoming towards players from a unionist background.
On Game of Two Halves, he argued that the Northern Ireland football team’s usage of ‘God Save the Queen’ isn’t inclusive towards players of a nationalist persuasion.
Rory Best on the Northern Ireland football team’s anthem.
“You could liken it to the way Irish rugby was pre-Ireland’s Call,” Best explained.
“For me, it’s potentially not the way an anthem should be. I understand that God Save The Queen is Northern Ireland’s anthem because we’re part of the United Kingdom.
“It also always strikes a chord with me, that’s what you hear when you’re in Twickenham, and you’re getting ready to play England.
“You don’t want to say that you find it strange because it is the anthem of Northern Ireland, but in terms of everything that I’ve done in sport, it’s been about including people. It’s not very inclusive.”
“It could be the worst song in the world, but it’s about respect.”
Ireland’s rugby team does sing ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’, the anthem of the Republic of Ireland before home games in Dublin, but the primary anthem used is ‘Ireland’s Call’, which is inclusive towards players from a northern unionist background.
Best explained that ‘Ireland’s Call’ is crucial to forming an inclusive environment within the Irish rugby team.
“It could be the worst song in the world, but it’s about respect,” Best said.
“It’s about making sure that no matter where you are from that there is a part of you in that song, there’s an area that you’re from in that song, and all that comes together to form Irish rugby.”
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