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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 08:56 GMT
Wire's Six Nations appeal

Manics Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire
Nicky Wire may be more accustomed to bass lines than back lines and frocks than locks, but the cross-dressing Manic Street Preachers bassist certainly knows his rugby.

A self-confessed sport anorak, Wire has encyclopaedic knowledge of Welsh sport.

He has described Ian Woosnam's 1991 US Masters win as one of his sporting highlights and paid tribute to his favourite cricketer, Matthew Maynard, in the Manics' song Mr Carbohydrate.

But for the next few weeks, his attention will be firmly fixed on the oval-shaped ball.

And as the anticipation and expectation rise ahead of Wales' Six Nations opener with England, Wire came into the Scrum V studio at BBC Radio Wales to reminisce on past glories and ponder the chances of a first Welsh win at Twickenham for 20 years.

WHY RUGBY?

I was a terrible rugby player, I had no pain threshold at all. I was a footballer - one of the clean fellas.

I'm just a huge sports fan and the start of the Six Nations is just one of the most exciting times of the year - close the curtains, get a sausage sandwich on and have a shandy.

It's just like the FA Cup final and all those kind of things. It's lovely when it comes around every year.

WALES' TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND

As a Dragons fan I would have liked to see some of them in there, but hand on my heart I'm not sure you could really make a case for any of them.

606: DEBATE

It's just a sad reflection on such a poor season.

But I'm surprised Tom Shanklin's not in there just because he did play with Henson in the Grand Slam year so it's not like they don't know each other.

Not that I'm criticising but Shanklin and Gethin Jenkins would be the two people I would have included.

Personally I'd always have Colin Charvis on the bench because I think he's such good entertainment and he's always liable to be really disruptive and physical.

But I'm not going to argue with Shaun Edwards that's for sure. He's a scary person.

FAVOURTIE WALES V ENGLAND MEMORIES

In 1993 we were recording Gold Against the Soul in a lovely big house in the middle of Surrey - the most English place you could be - so that victory in Cardiff (10-9) was special.

Gavin Henson gave Matthew Tait an unforgettable introduction to international rugby
Gavin Henson dumps opposite number Matthew Tait in 2005

But I'd say Gavin Henson picking up Mathew Tait and just driving his face into the turf is my favourite.

Tait was the new young starlet and for once it was like 'you think you're the new kid on the block, well I'm the kid on the block and I'll show you'.

That was a really tight game and we played really tough, hard rugby. There wasn't much flowing movement but it showed we could be winners.

CAN WALES WIN ON SATURDAY?

I'm not going to Twickenham. Me and James (Dean Bradfield, Manics singer) have come to a kind of truce. We stopped going in 2005 after 10 years of watching Wales lose, and of course we won the Grand Slam.

So we've decided we're a curse and decided to stay away again this year.

But can we win? We're a very romantic nation in Wales and we want everything to be like a glorious Gareth Edwards try, but you have to be more pragmatic.

If you look back at the 70's games and look at the whole game, as I do like a sad rugby fan, the Pontypool front row weren't chucking passes around.

There was a lot of defence, a lot of driving lineouts, mauling - stuff that we've perhaps forgotten how to do.

The build-up to the England game is still really exciting and I still have hopes. It's enthusiasm and delusion - all those things which all Welsh people are.

If this was the third or fourth game of the tournament, I'd be really confident. I think it's going to be close, but I think we might just lose... but I'm still optimistic.



SEE ALSO
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