The 11-times capped Ireland international, who played at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, was speaking on The Rugby Pod.
“I always found when the couple of games I did play, the big games, the Romania’s, the Georgia’s, the North American teams, the whole anthem situation is very, very strange,” he said.
“I actually look at other home nations in the Six Nations very enviously. You watch the Welsh belt out their anthem, I don’t think it’s their official anthem, and you see the same in Scotland and you think ‘this is class’ and Ireland is just not like that.”
Cave, who has made 215 appearances for Ulster tried to explain further.
“It’s a complicated issue, people from south of the border, they think their anthem of Ireland is Ahmran na bhFiann, the soldiers song, so they sort of think why is this ‘Ireland’s Call’ being played, it’s just a made up song. So I always respected the players from south of the border who would sing ‘Ireland’s Call’ because I felt they were, by doing that, were including the Northern boys.”
Cave also revealed that some players weren’t keen to sing ‘Ireland’s Call’ and praised the likes of John Hayes who’s emotional rendition before Ireland took on England at Croke Park in the 2007 Six Nations left an impression.
“Big John Hayes belted it out at Croke Park and the tears came. And that came across in that documentary. God Save the Queen being played at Croke Park was a very emotional thing and people were worried there was going to be boos. Because when you go and watch the Northern Ireland soccer team it’s God Save the Queen”
Cave also says the recent Brian O’Driscoll documentary, ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ on BT Sport was an eye-opener for him.
“It actually made me realise how weird the whole thing is. When the people were speaking, the lambeg drum and saying they were proud Irishmen, but they were British and it seems weird and you can see Drico’s (Brian O’Driscoll) face, he’s going ‘what are they talking about’.
“That’s just normal, that’s just how it is. It was interesting for me to see it from outside. Lots of people there would bang the lambeg drug and have the Union flag and wear the Orange Order gear and then they’d happily support Ireland and they’re standing at the Aviva Stadium when Amhran na bhFiann is being played. It is very weird, but when you’re in it and it’s what you’re used to, it just doesn’t seem that weird to me.”
Watch in full: The Rugby Pod – Rory Best & Mark Wilson
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