Six Nations 2019: Roof open for Wales against Ireland

Six Nations 2019: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 16 March Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Ulster, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

The Principality Stadium roof will be open on Saturday at Ireland's request as Wales bid for the Six Nations Grand Slam against them in Cardiff.

The decision was confirmed on the eve of the game and came after Ireland coach Joe Schmidt suggested Wales broke protocol in asking tournament bosses to close the roof for the potential tournament decider.

Under Six Nations rules, both teams must agree to the roof being closed.

Rain is forecast for the game.

Schmidt said Wales had asked for the roof to be closed because of the weather forecast for Saturday's game.

When it was put to Schmidt that normally the visitors would be asked to decide on the roof, the Ireland coach replied: "Yes, normally."

He added: "There's been a request from Wales that in the interest of the quality of the game and the very poor weather forecast that the roof be closed.

"So they've said to the Six Nations directly, 'can it be closed?"'

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones gave little away when he was asked about the roof being open.

"You'd have to ask the Irish guys about what their mentality is," he said.

"We've trained here on a few occasions with it open and closed."

Asked if the decision should have been Wales' to make, Jones added: "That's for the alickadoos, isn't it? I don't wear a shirt and tie long enough to make those decisions.

"At the end of the day, the pitch and conditions are the same for both teams."

The Irish trained under an open roof, whereas Wales had the stadium closed for their captain's run session on Friday.

Ireland captain Rory Best insisted his side simply wanted to play the game in the winter sport manner to which it was intended.

"In the end we made the decision on playing a game of rugby in the outdoors," said Best.

"There was a lot made of it, and more outside of our camp, but we felt that was the best decision to be made.

"And whether indoors or outdoors, it's the same for both teams."

Schmidt believes closing the roof would have made precious little difference in any case, recalling how he believes Wales over-watered the pitch back in 2017, when the hosts prevailed 22-9.

"For us, last time we said 'look, we don't mind, you choose'," said Schmidt.

"And they chose closed, but made the field incredibly wet at the start of the game.

"So we will probably be happy enough if it's open anyway."

Warren Gatland is aiming to coach Wales to the Grand Slam on Saturday
Gatland says bad weather could affect the spectator experience if the roof is open

'We should be able to do what we want with it'

Wales boss Warren Gatland had expected Ireland to ask for the roof to be open.

"My only concern is that if it is pouring down with rain then we do have a responsibility to the game as a spectacle," said Gatland.

"Both teams have to agree to the roof being closed so that means basically the away team decides what happens in our stadium.

"I have made a number of comments in the past about that. It's our stadium and we should be able to do what we want with it."


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Also in NI Sport