If, like me, you’ve spend thousands of hours (not to mention pounds) following your rugby team to some of the most famous sporting venues on the planet, you’ll instantly identify with many of the stories told by Carolyn Hitt in her new book, “Wales Play In Red.”
Carolyn is no ordinary sports journalist. For starters, she’s a girl, and more importantly, she’s a fan. She is bonkers about rugby, and it shows. Like her touring companion Max Boyce, her enthusiasm for rugby events and rugby people is infectious, and the personal quality of the writing brings the subject to life in a way which your run-of-the-mill rugby hacks can never manage.
The story of Welsh rugby has swung from high to low in ways the English chariot never could. Because in Wales, we don’t just watch rugby, we go mental about it. This book follows the story from the hysteria which accompanied Graham “The Great Redeemer” Henry’s arrival on these shores, to the dark days of Ruddockgate and Carparkgate, and all the other ‘gates which nearly destroyed our national game.
In an era where the voices of fans have been drowned out by the management speak of administrators and coaches spouting the bleeding obvious, it’s refreshing and encouraging to have real rugby fans like Carolyn writing passionately about the social phenomenon which is Welsh rugby. She’s picked up a fair few anecdotes on her travels and I bet there are loads more too “exotic” to make it into print. You’ll just have to ask her when you bump into her in Paris, Rome or Sydney.