M&C Saatchi's Tom Bazeley on rugby's atmospheric pinnacle...  and then Wales won
A view from Tom Bazeley

M&C Saatchi's Tom Bazeley on rugby's atmospheric pinnacle... and then Wales won

Being mostly Welsh but a bit English, and definitely an England Rugby supporter, M&C Saatchi chief executive Tom Bazeley was left feeling confused and...

I’m half Welsh.

The other half is made up of English with a smattering of Irish and a small ration of German. So despite being born and bred on the south coast of England, I’m actually more Welsh than anything else.

The bloodline creates an odd relationship with Welsh sport, and in particular rugby. I support England in all sports and rugby is no different. But the echoes of my forefathers are loud enough to ensure Wales are the next team I look out for.

Look what these bastards have done to Wales

This is the complete opposite of the Welsh, who will support anyone and anything as long as it’s playing against England that day.

Mervyn Davies, the famous and moustachioed Welsh number 8 once said: "Every Welshman’s nightly prayer is: Lord, if we’ve got to get beat, let it not ever be by England". 

Another Welsh legend, fly half Phil Bennett was a little bit more direct: "Look what these bastards have done to Wales. They've taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our homes and live in them for a fortnight every year. What have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We've been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English – and that's who you are playing this afternoon."

I am very fond of Welsh rugby, but Welsh rugby, it seems, does not reciprocate.

This was the backdrop of a trip to Twickenham with Paul Bainsfair, who runs the esteemed IPA. The lead-up to kick off was less about rugby and more about football. Spirits were buoyed by ale and some football chat with Paul’s other guests Jon Wilkins and Tom Knox. The latter of which was on cloud 9 having witnessed Man City getting thumped at White Hart Lane. In a show of mild sporting infidelity, we arrived at the stadium whilst watching Newcastle v Chelsea on Sky Go in a black cab. 

Inside Twickenham we stumbled into an impromptu media and marketing ruck. At one point, eight people from agency, client and production lands stood swilling Heineken and honking away about Sam Burgess and how funny it was that we’d bumped into each other.

The atmosphere in the stadium was like nothing I’ve experienced before. A dark night lit up by light shows, thumping music and partisan singing. The steep concrete hillsides of the stadium lined with red and white fans. National anthems sung in and out of tune, but always with gusto. The most over-subscribed match of the tournament. This was the moment millions had waited for and this was the magic that the sponsors had paid millions for.

Then Wales won.

Confused and bewildered I sat on the District Line heading back into town. A Welsh fan sat down beside me. I offered my congratulations, told him that I was half Welsh, and then asked him how he thought the sponsors should react to such a defeat. He responded with a burp and a rendition of Swing Loooow, Sweeeeeet Charriottttts…