Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Ten reasons to show Wales some love

After years of bashing Welsh rugby, a change of tack. It's time send a little love the way of Wales because:

1) At the risk of being patronising,...deep down, deep, deep, deep down, some of us would love Wales to win one of these tests against the All Blacks (not that it is going to happen).

Imagine the celebrations. A Welsh win would do world rugby a power of good. Put it this way: the Olympic sevens is shaping up as fascinating because it is tricky picking a winner from a host of candidates big and small, and a team from a tiny place like Fiji could grab the gold medal.

The world of 15s is too predictable. Knowing who is going to win almost all the time is BORING, even if the winner is us. And Wales is a little country - it's got fewer people than New Zealand although they do top up their stocks in England. Then again - the All Blacks do a bit of topping up from the Pacific Islands.

2) Wales have endured 60-plus years of pain against the All Blacks with a limited amount of moaning, especially over a couple of disgraceful 1978 All Black lineout dives to draw a penalty. Compare that to all the long-running whinging and conspiracy allegations whenever the All Blacks lose a big game.

3) The longest losing run in an alleged rivalry has become a story in itself. Playing Wales is a chance to reminisce about the 1950s, when you could leave the front door unlocked and never get anything stolen...not that there was much to steal back then.

4) Wales was an important development step for the coaches who would win the World Cup for New Zealand, twice.

5) The singing. There's one huge difference between New Zealand crowds and Welsh crowds when it comes to singing. Welsh singing involves a tune. New Zealand singing sounds as if someone is drilling a big tunnel under the stadium. Welsh singing is incredibly stirring.

6) Some fans don't like penalty kicks, but they're more exciting than a lot of other stuff that goes on in rugby. Wales often have the world's best goalkickers. Absent fullback Leigh Halfpenny gets a lot of the attention, but Dan Biggar is even better statistically.

"King" Barry John revolutionised our kicking when he toured with the Lions in '71, and the Welsh still seem to see this as an art form. (remember Neil Jenkins).

7) Anyone who followed rugby in the 1970s will retain a soft spot for Wales. Welsh flair and its influence on the Lions rocked when flairs were in. Back then, we had the bog standard footy players and Wales were the glorious entertainers. A lot of what came next is not pretty for Wales, but no one should forget the majesty they brought to rugby in a golden era for the sport. The greatest try of all time, by the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973, involved six Welshmen and one Englishman which says a lot.

8) Wales don't like England (cheap shot against England I know, but I'm running out of ideas).

9) This has absolutely nothing to do with rugby...but many years ago I had one of the happiest and funniest days of my life, desperately clinging to a docile horse while pony trekking with mates in Welsh mountains. A wonderful memory.

10) The Welsh rugby team keep turning up down here - give them credit for that. They have won only one out of 29 tests in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and that was against the Wallabies in 1969 which is a long time between rare bits. The Welsh rugby team must approach a long distance flight the way Tiger Woods looks at a fire hydrant. But the Welsh have made it, on another hopeless mission.

- NZ Herald

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