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Is football now bigger than rugby in Wales?

Also in our Barometer column: tall statues, battle death tolls, and nations in space

25 June 2016

8:00 AM

25 June 2016

8:00 AM

Big game hunt

Wales beat Russia 3–0 to finish above England in their group at the European Football Championships. Which is bigger in Wales, football or rugby?
— The Football Association of Wales was founded in 1876, five years earlier than the Welsh Rugby Union. However, rugby then took off rapidly in south Wales while football remained stronger in the north.
— Wales lost their first matches to England in both football (2–1) and rugby (8–0).
— Rugby and football matches have both filled Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium (capacity 76,000), though in a recent Wales Online poll, rugby was still reckoned more important, by 56% to 44%.

Tall poppies

A group of historians complained that a proposed statue of Mary Seacole at St Thomas’ Hospital will, at 10ft, be higher than the statue to Florence Nightingale in Waterloo Place, at 8ft 6in. Some luminaries with bigger statues in Britain:
9ft Mahatma Gandhi, Parliament Square
12ft Winston Churchill, Parliament Square
18ft Horatio Nelson, Trafalgar Square
22ft Queen Victoria, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
99ft Horse, ‘The Kelpies’, Falkirk

Days of the dead


The first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 cost the lives of 19,240 British soldiers. Some of the other bloody days of British military history:
— Battle of Watling Street AD 60/61, exact date unknown: 80,000 Britons killed, according to Roman historian Tacitus.
— Battle of Agincourt, 25 October 1415. 100–400 killed on English side (and up to 10,000 on French side).
— Battle of Towton, 29 March 1461, bloodiest battle of the Wars of the Roses: 28,000 killed by one estimate.
— Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815: 3,500 British killed plus 3,300 fighting alongside them. (Up to 24,000 on the French side.)
— D-Day, 6 June 1944: 4,414 Allied deaths, according to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.

Citizens of space

Tim Peake, the second British citizen to travel into space, has returned to Earth after six months. Countries which have had greater numbers of their citizens in space:

USA 335
USSR/Russia 118
Germany 11
China, Japan 10 each
France, Canada 9 each
Italy 7

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