The Wurzels are hoping to arrange a post-Covid singalong with Bristol Bears after the Challenge Cup holders adopted The Blackbird as the team anthem following a victory. Bristol have been singing the song for nearly two years, a tradition that stemmed from a 2018 Christmas party where Pat Lam was taken in by Joe Joyce’s karaoke version of the song.
It hasn’t been without its teething problems. Joyce telling The XV in the run-up to last weekend’s final in France versus Toulon: “That’s the only thing that is tough about bringing people in from around the world.
“Four years ago it was easy but now we’re trying to get Fijians, Samoans to learn The Blackbird. They’re getting there. It also helps when you’re winning a lot of games, they get a lot of practice. I think for the final, if we win everyone will be fluent, so no worries.
“I pinched myself when I came back for the restart and we had people like Semi Radradra in the changing room. It’s crazy. Then you get other players of the calibre of Ben Earl and Max Malins, two posh boys but they are fitting in very well as well. We did the best recruitment out of all the teams and it’s a brilliant mix of people from all over the world.”
Now, having learned that Bristol adopted the song, Tommy Banner of The Wurzels has said he would love to visit the Bears squad and join in.
Où est le blackbird? ???? pic.twitter.com/bsSOEhmRlr
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) October 16, 2020
Speaking to ITV News West Country, the Scot said: “It’s wonderful. The Blackbird song is virtually our anthem because we open every single show with ‘Where be that blackbird to?’ and to hear them singing it is absolutely brilliant. They do it better than we do it.
“Not that I’m a very good coach at teaching them West Country words because I have been over 50 years a Wurzel and I’m still not able to speak West Country. But I’ll do my best.”
The Blackbird was released in 1976 as the B-side to the group’s No1 hit, Combine Harvester, but it is now enjoying fresh legs with its association with a Premiership Rugby club.
Bristol publicly sang it twice last Friday, on the presentation stage as they accepted the Challenge Cup after their win over Toulon in Aix-en-Provence and again in the company of chairman Chris Booy on the pitch.
They could also be singing it at Twickenham next Saturday as Bristol are currently on standby to replace Covid-affected Wasps in the Premiership final against Exeter even though they were beaten in the semi-finals by the Coventry-based club.
"Southmead doesn’t get much good press but if I can inspire two, three kids to try to be a rugby player then that's good enough for me."
@BristolBears Joe Joyce is relishing taking on French aristocrats Toulon to make his hometown proud
— The XV (@TheXV) October 15, 2020
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