'They were talking quite a bit in the media... saying England were coming down to hammer us' - Justin Tipuric
"They're singing Delilah and it's absolutely bouncing!"
If he casts he mind back, and he is more than happy to do so, Justin Tipuric can place himself back out on the Principality Stadium pitch as Wales did a double that gave them immense, immense pleasure.
Back in 2013, when it was still called the Millennium Stadium, Warren Gatland's Wales welcomed an England team, coached by Stuart Lancaster, that had beaten all previous comers and were on course for a Grand Slam. Wales had lost their opening Guinness Six Nations game at home to Ireland but had done enough in their next three to still be in with a championship chance.
England wanted the victory that would deliver the slam, but they went into the game 14 better off in the 'points difference' column. A draw, definitely, or even a close defeat would secure the title. Both sides were gunning for victory. England were confident, and while some of their player's talked up their chances in the press, many pundits and reporters predicted a comfortable win for Lancaster's men.
Speaking with Justin Tipuric, who, along with Dan Lydiate and George North, was helping to promote the Guinness 'Never Settle' campaign, the back-row smiles as he leans back and tells his tale of that fateful day.
"I've never experienced an atmosphere like that" - Justin Tipuric
"That's one of my best memories," says Justin Tipuric of the 30-3 Wales win that sealed their unlikely championship triumph.
"I often look back on it and try to remember as much of it as possible. we lost the first game to Ireland and, after that game, everyone was saying we were going to win the wooden spoon. We managed to get a few results back, but obviously England were going for the Grand Slam.
"They were talking quite a bit in the media, and we had a big thing before the game, with everything that had been said in the week before - about looking to beat us up in the forwards and how they were coming down to hammer us; coming down to win. We had other people saying we'd be lucky to keep them to a 20-point loss, and all this side of it.
"So we had all this talk on a bit of a video, all the comments clipped up - all that stuff that people had been saying about us, all the whole week. Even heading to the stadium, I remember the streets were packed. We had that video playing on the bus. All those comments being played back to us.
"Then, when we got into the stadium, it was just absolutely packed, from the warm-up. Normally, the place is only about half full for the warm-ups, but we came out of the tunnel and the stadium is nearly jammed full. They're singing Delilah and it's absolutely bouncing! Yeah, then the day obviously couldn't have gone any better with the result we had. We ended up lifting the trophy at the end of it.
"It's one of those stand-out memories for me, and I've never experienced an atmosphere like that again, to this day really. It's always an amazing atmosphere in the Principality Stadium, but it has not quite hit the limit of that day yet."
Quick-fire questions with Justin Tipuric
Days out from England vs. Wales, we spoke with Tipuric, Dan Lydiate and George North about a social inclusion campaign, run by Guinness, entitled the Never Settle Programme.
After a big drive, in 2021, to raise awareness of the Women’s Six Nations championship, the big Guinness focus in 2022 is is working with partners and the rugby community to 'ensure all spaces around the sport are safe and welcoming to all, whether that be online, in stadiums or in pubs and bars'.
After helping set the scene for the pivotal Six Nations clash between Wales and England, and telling us more on the Guinness 'Never Settle' programme, we then asked the Wasps lock some quick-fire questions.
Alternative profession, if you did not play rugby
Oh my gosh! As a kid, I always played sport. So a footballer or a golfer. Something that is a bit easier on the body! Golfer, if I was any good at it. Playing in the sun, travelling the world. But I was absolutely rubbish at it.
Parents obviously up there.
Rugby-wise, probably Richard Hill, which is a bit mad. I have to say that quietly around here, especially as he's an Englishman!
Best person for taking your mind off rugby?
Family. The kids, no doubt. The kids will be getting you to wear make-up, or do whatever. Play with the animals. They're the best to take your mind off rugby.
Fastest in the Wales squad?
Oh, Zam, unfortunately. He's way too quick! Louis Rees-Zammit. to have that much speed must be scary.
Best Bronco time, would be one of the 9s. Gareth Davies usually does well at it, or Kieran Hardy. They're normally flying, to be fair.
Biggest pet peeve?
Manners. I've a big thing for manners, like when the kids don't say their please and thank yous. If anyone doesn't say their please and thank yous, I do have a thing for that. My missus gets stuck into me about that! It's the little things in life that get you, especially as you get older.
Ultimate cheat meal?
Would you go back and play for your local club after you retire from pro rugby?
That's a tough question, just because I know I'd get my head kicked in! Probably not a game. I'll just go down for a beer with the boys, instead!
Justin Tipuric was speaking on behalf of Guinness, alongside teammates George North and Dan Lydiate. Guinness is working with its partners to make sure rugby is inclusive and welcoming for everyone. To find out more visit www.guinness.com/neversettle
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