Gwent gripped by Six Nations fever
10:20am Saturday 16th March 2013 in News
WALES vs England is always one of the most anticipated clashes in world rugby, but with the Six Nations championship and a potential English Grand Slam on the line today there's seldom been such a significant clash between the two old rivals.
Across Gwent, fans have been gearing up for the titanic clash at the Millennium Stadium by backing the boys in red.
Up at the Rhymney brewery in Blaenavon, brewer Tim Roderick must have been working nearly as hard as Rob Howley's men this week, as he makes sure there is enough of their special Scrum V beer available to toast back-to-back Welsh championships.
The 4.3% strength ale is made with styrian and goldings hops for a "nice, fresh character," Mr Roderick explained.
"We've got a bar upstairs here at the brewery and a lot of people have been watching the games up there.
"We're hoping for a good result on Saturday but whether they win or lose or the Welsh boys are welcome here to celebrate or commiserate," he said.
Over in border-country in Chepstow, the Coach and Horses pub is again set to display its divided loyalties. Quite literally.
"The pub will be divided exactly half and half with a cross of St George at one end and the Welsh dragon at the other," Nick Mayrick from the pub said.
"We've got bunting up and at half time we will be serving Welsh pasties in the Welsh half and pork pies for the English.
"It's going to be a tight game because it's of importance to both teams but I'm backing Wales."
In Newport, fans will be able to celebrate the sweet taste of success, with a sweet-Welsh-rugby treat from the Honeybunch Cake Company in Waterloo Road.
The team were baking up some tasty Welsh rugby themed treats with fillings including blueberry and white chocolate and chocolate fudge with orange.
Co-owner, Diane Corrister said: "We do 32 bespoke home-made flavours.
"Our rugby themed ones are always popular at this time of year. We make selection boxes up with different designs including a Welsh flag, daffodils, rugby balls and rugby shirts."
And there will be divided loyalties in the house and at work.
"We're English but have been down here for 20 years and lots of the people who work with us are Welsh so it's going to be very exciting.
"However we've never made an English themed cup cake and have never been asked," she laughed.
Back at the Millennium Stadium, hopefully after the champagne spray of another Welsh triumph dies down, the players will settle down for the post-match banquet, where Toby Faletau will be able to enjoy a home comfort courtesy of the Blaenafon Cheddar Company in Blaenavon.
The family-run business has been flat out all week getting 120 of its OMG Goats cheeses, making 24kgs of cheese, ready for the dinner.
Co-owner Susan Fiander-Woodhouse said: "The cheese is being delivered to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday morning.
"I think we will clinch it but it's either going to be sort of match we walk or it's going to be an OMG nail biter finale."
So from schoolchildren, like the excited young fans showing their support at Ringland Primary School in Newport , to the hoards of Gwent rugby fans who will make the pilgrimage to Cardiff today, the message is loud and clear, Come on Wales!
Good luck messages Mark Colbourne, Paralympic Gold medalist: "I would like to wish the Wales rugby team all the very best for their game on Saturday and hope they win at home in front of the people who they represent :)"
Greg Woods, head coach at Cross Keys RFC: "Good luck to the Welsh team on Saturday! 8 points no dramas. Get it done boys!"
Sven Cronk, head coach at Newport RFC: "All of us at Newport wish the Welsh lads all the best for the huge clash on Saturday!
"Stop the English Slam and nail the Championship (Hope Coombsy gets on up the Port!)"
Darryl Williams, Team Manager at Newbridge RFC: Everybody is hoping and wishing you do the job properly in 'the big eliminator'! Best wishes lads from all at Newbridge RFC."
Mike Hook, Pontypool RFC head coach and brother of James: "Good luck to all the Welsh guys this Saturday. Doesn't get bigger than Wales England! "
Ross Coombs, Newport RFC back-rower and brother of Andrew: "Good luck boys, millions of men across Wales would give everything to be in your position today! Do us all Proud! Special good luck to my brother Andrew #ComeOnWales"
Mohammad Asghar, South Wales East AM : "I send my best wishes to the Wales Rugby team for a successful result against England on Saturday.
"Hopefully the margin of victory will be enough for Wales to retain the championship title."
William Graham, South Wales East AM: "Among our ancient mountains, And from our lovely vales, Oh! Let the prayer re-echo, Victory for Wales."
Nick Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent: "It's only right that on the last day, we are defending our title on our turf. Good luck Wales - bring it back home."
Lynne Neagle, AM for Torfaen: "I'm really excited about watching the game on Saturday. It has all the hallmarks of an epic encounter, and with all the doom and gloom around at the moment, if Wales can beat England by that magic eight points it'll give the whole country a much needed boost.
"Come on Wales, we're all behind you!"
Rosemary Butler AM for Newport West: "I wish Rob Howley and the team all the best and hope that we will be celebrating another Welsh rugby success come Saturday night."
Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, who travelled to Scotland last week for the Six Nations clash, said: "Good luck to the boys tomorrow. I'm sure if Wales play to their full potential they will put one over on the old enemy. Come on Wales - you can do it."
David Davies MP for Monmouth: Monmouth MP David Davies said: "England were everyone's favourites going into the competition and there is a lot of expectation and pressure on them, but Wales are used to big-game experiences and with a packed Millennium Stadium roaring the team to victory I believe we've got what it takes to win the Six Nations and deny England the grand slam. Pob lwc!"
Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent AM said: " I'm looking forward to Saturdays game and I'll be joining everyone else in Blaenau Gwent in cheering on our home team. Come on Wales, do us proud!"