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We do feel real support from the Breton people, said Gareth Jenkins, the Sports Manager of the Rugby National Welsh Team on his visit to Nantes stadium.
“ We do feel real support from the Breton people”, said Gareth Jenkins, the Sports Manager of the Rugby National Welsh Team on his visit to Nantes stadium. The World Cup of rugby is getting near with the inaugural
Jacques-Yves Le Touze pour ABP le 12/08/07 0:26

“ We do feel real support from the Breton people”, said Gareth Jenkins, the Sports Manager of the Rugby National Welsh Team on his visit to Nantes stadium.

The World Cup of rugby is getting near with the inaugural match: France vs Argentina next September 7th. This championship is the third sports event in the world for its public and its media cover. It is organized this year jointly by the federations of rugby of France, Wales and Scotland.

Nantes will be one of the cities where parts of the world cup will take place: Wales vs Canada on September 9th, England vs Samoa on September 22nd and Wales vs Fidji on September 29th.

With this goal in mind, the Welsh staff came over to Nantes 18 months ago to visit Beaujoire stadium and see the lodging possibilities offered by the Breton city. As Alan Phillips, the manager of the Welsh team puts it, the stadium was to them as attractive - with its history and that of the F.C. Nantes - as the proposed lodgings were disappointing! So much so, that the Welsh informed their hosts in Nantes that they would not settle there but would rather fly to Nantes just before the matches.

Alan Phillips says :”I think I rather shocked them but it's the team and its training that count above all. ”Our interpreter then suggested that the Breton coast was just an hour away and that we should have a look that way .”This led Alan Phillips to meet the Rugby Club of St Nazaire and ask if they would allow the Welsh team to train on their lawn. “ The Nazairians accepted and I even think they felt honoured by our request. From then on they have done everything for us. It's one of the best happenings up to now.”

The lodgings were found in Pornichet in a “three star “ place: Villa Ker Juliette, where the National Italian Football Team stayed in 1997.

Last July 7th, Gareth Jenkins, the Sports Manager of the Welsh team, came over for a visit of the different sites and, on his visit of Nantes stadium, declared that the Welsh felt thoroughly supported by the Breton people.

Last week, the National Welsh team had their first stay on Breton territory in order to survey the place and get ready, on the one hand, and, on the other, to operate a selection of 30 players who will take part in the first match of the World Cup.

The Welshmen in charge highly praised the welcome as well as the equipments and the support from the Bretons. That first week ended with a qualification match for the players on Friday July 27th. In spite of the stress that one could feel just before the selective match (choosing 30 players out of 40 for the World Cup) the selecting authority, Gareth Jenkins summoned the representatives of the CREDIB, a Nazairian association, to come over to the area reserved for the Welsh staff.

On their last day in Brittany, the CREDIB presented the Welshmen in charge with two Gwen ha du and a Breton-Welsh dictionary, as tokens of their friendship. The Welsh were deeply touched and responded heartily through the gesture of Alan Phillips who faced the tribune of the rugby stadium in St Nazaire, full of hundreds of Breton supporters, and vividly waved the Gwenn ha du (Breton flag).

The Welsh were also quite sensitive to the banners: ”Britanny supports Wales “ The atmosphere was quite Breton, with a sound system at the entry of the stadium, passing in loop Stivell and many bagadoù. The Nazairian Sporting Club has always felt genuinely Breton. They give new evidence of their belonging to the Breton rugby planet. The coming of the Welsh rugbymen is the opportunity for them to assert proudly the Breton identity of the Nazairians. The “Centre de Recherche et Diffusion de l'identité Bretonne” - CREDIB Sant Nazer - along with the coming of the Welsh selection, has started work for informing the Bretons as well as the thousands of Welsh supporters coming over with their team, and acquaint all with the thousand years old bonds between their two Britonnic nations. To this effect, the CREDIB has called upon the joint participation of the Cultural Institute of Brittany.

A.B.P.

Saint Nazaire has had a long rugby tradition. The “Sporting Nazairien “ was created in 1909 and the “Rugby Club Trignacais” in 1912. The links with Wales developed along with the traffic between the ports of Cardiff and St Nazaire from 1870 to 1930. The iron works in Trignac (1879-1932) worked with Welsh coal uniquely, and even had concessions in some Welsh mines. On the port of St Nazaire, there were also 4 companies for the conditioning of “Welsh coal “. Supported by the CREDIB, the town of Trignac will show in September an exhibition “ From Cardiff to Trignac “ that will recall all this past history in common between the south of Wales and the south of Brittany.,

original article ( voir l'article ) Traduction: Yvette Daniel du CREDIB

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