“Swansea ‘til I die, I’m Swansea ‘til I die. I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Swansea ‘til I die!”
“Swansea, oh Swansea Uni said I, drinking on Fulton lawn ‘til the day I die. Take me to the Uni right down by the sea, and there I’ll support, Swansea, Swansea Uni.”
Just a couple of chants to get you in the mood for the event of the year! Though I haven’t actually been before and the event itself isn’t until May 2nd, there’s definitely a hint of Varsity magic in the air as we start the 10 day countdown to the official launch. With a pep rally at OMG this weekend and tickets going on sale on January 30th, you can see everyone getting ready to throw on their green and white war paint, clamber into trains, cars and buses, and show Cardiff what we’re made of.
Last year founders Elena Cresci and Sammy Siddique bundled into the Xtreme Radio “banter bus” and hitched a lift to the Millennium Stadium, with Len spending most of the match screaming “HIT HIM. HIT HIIIIM!!!” every time the players formed a scrum. With my knowledge of rugby being as poor as it is, I imagine that’s pretty much what I’ll be doing too.
(A video of Swansea supporters at last year’s match, where we beat Cardiff in a 28-18 victory.)
I caught up with Swansea AU President Dan Ryan-Lowes and had a chat with him about the history of the famous event and what students should expect this year. He has been to a total of 5 Varsity matches- including one when he was still at school and was one of the main elements of his applying to Swansea University.
On January 13th students were encouraged to wear their old Varsity t-shirts. Mr Ryan-Lowes explained that this was to create the traditional buzz around campus building up to the event, culminating in the famous sea of green and white in the middle of Cardiff on the big day. Out of 15 matches, the Swansea team has won 10!
“It’s an experience,” he said when asked for his opinion on why students should go at least once during their time at Swansea. “There’s nothing else in the student calendar that really compares, this is THE Welsh Varsity. It’s a great memory to have.”
For the 16th year of Varsity, Welsh International and Swansea University graduate Alun-Wyn Jones has been helping his old team kick-off their training preparations for this year’s Welsh Varsity match. The Ospreys captain was sure to put the Swansea University rugby team through their paces as they step up their training for the forthcoming annual battle.
Over 25 events take place to find the winner of the Varsity Shield, which take place over the course of a week. The main event- a “head-to-head” rugby match- takes place on the Wednesday evening in the Millennium Stadium. Last year there were over 14,500 spectators.
So make sure you save a space in your diary for the biggest event of the year. If you can’t make it, you can always tune into Xtreme Radio for live coverage during the day, and you could also check out the official Varsity Twitter feed!
The Welsh Varsity was founded in March 1996, with the first Varsity match being played in 1997. Swansea University has beaten Cardiff a total of ten times, with Cardiff winning four, and a draw between teams (10-10) in 2001.
Excited for Varsity? Tell us your memories of previous matches, and your favourite thing about the event of the year!