24 November 2020
‘Outside Inside Centre’ poem created as heartfelt message to Welsh rugby
Wales’ largest building society has enlisted the help of a former Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate to write a poem aimed to ignite passion across the country as the national rugby team competes in the Autumn Nations Cup campaign.
As title sponsors of Principality Stadium, Principality Building Society wants to ensure that the patriotic spirit is not lost during the games this autumn. Collated from heartfelt messages from fans and grassroots rugby clubs across Wales, celebrated Welsh poet Eurig Salisbury has written ‘Outside Inside Centre’ to show support for the boys in red this season.
Although the coronavirus pandemic paused play across all international sport this year, the Autumn Nations Cup is now fully underway with Wales having already met Ireland in Dublin and are set to take on Georgia this Saturday.
With messages collected from rugby clubs across Wales, the poem has been written to reflect a sense of longing for the game and the home of Welsh rugby. Earlier this year, Principality Stadium was transformed into an emergency hospital during the height of the Covid-19 outbreak and as a result, all home games this season will be hosted at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.
The poem, ‘Outside Inside Centre’, which has been produced as a short film to capture the collective support within Wales, is voiced by Cerys Matthews, the Welsh singer-songwriter, author and broadcaster.
As well as its commitment to Welsh rugby through its partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union, the building society is continually looking for ways to support grassroots rugby clubs in Wales. With many clubs affected by widespread flooding at the start of this year and now closed indefinitely due to coronavirus, the hope is that this message will resonate with communities across Wales.
Julie-Ann Haines, CEO at Principality Building Society, said: “Even though we’ll be enjoying the Autumn Nations Cup from home this year, rather than the home of Welsh rugby, we hope our poem will unite rugby fans and show Wales’ national side that the whole country is behind them. It’s been a tough year for rugby clubs across Wales, but the internationals are an occasion rugby fans always look forward to and we know this year will be no different.”
Poet Eurig Salisbury said: “I wanted the poem to capture the thoughts and feelings of people across Wales to remind the nation and the Welsh team that we’re united even when we’re not together. I’ve written the poem in the context of people's current frustration at being denied physical contact, and rugby’s unique ability, by proxy, to alleviate some of that stress. The word 'home', or 'cartref', appeared repeatedly in entries from rugby clubs and became integral to the poem. That fire within us, that passion and feeling of unification, still exists in our homes, our living rooms and from our armchairs.”
Cerys Matthews MBE, said: “This has been a powerful project to be a part of. Wales felt the absence of our national sport during the pandemic, and although we still can’t be there cheering on the boys from the stands of Principality Stadium, the sentiment of the video demonstrates that we are all still with each other in spirit. I hope people enjoy listening to the words shared by those from across Wales and get behind the boys on Saturday.”
Outside, Inside, Centre.
Outside, Inside, Centre
We were all blindsided by this.
Hands on head and stilled, mid-stride,
we all stared at the screen.
Back then, before a shrill whistle
put a sudden stop to our ritual gathering
in tiers, where we’d throng in unified purpose
and warm our hands on pure spectacle.
Where a single match of red flame
could ignite an entire nation,
our stadium stands empty,
Where we would stir the passions
of hymns over a blazing heat,
there sits a heavy lid
on our cauldron of rebirth.
So is it possible, a reimagining now,
after a static summer spent rooted
between halfback and fullback?
To those who’d say
we’re nothing but armchair fans after all,
we’ve skin in this game.
So let’s raise our roofs,
fill our hearts again with hope,
lift our hands and sing.
No, it’s not ours the split lip,
strapped knee and bruised rib,
but at home, all the same,
our sinews strain,
tight as bowstrings, harp strings,
bracing as in a fever dream
against an impact long desired.
The rules say: avoid touch.
But we yearn for the scrum’s
love-spoon knotwork cwtsh.
As we say in our language,
hawdd cynnau tân ar hen aelwyd –
new fires burn best in old grates,
and ours was always fuelled
by the ancient belief
that no opposition’s insurmountable.
and let’s warm our hands on a passion
hot as a thousand hearths,
because in every home
there’s room for us all in this line-up,
outside, inside, centre.
We’re with you, bois.
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- A mutual building society, owned by and run for the benefit of our 500,000 members
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