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Jones annoys Wales with demand that stadium roof must stay open

By Andrew Baldock

England have requested the roof at the Principality Stadium be left open for tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales.

Hosts Wales wanted to play with the Cardiff venue fully enclosed but it required agreement from the visitors.

England coach Eddie Jones kept Wales waiting until the 48-hour deadline yesterday to reveal his preference, but the Rugby Football Union has now confirmed he wants the pitch open to the elements.

Wales would have preferred the roof closed because it enhances noise levels and could therefore amplify what is already likely to be a loud and partisan Welsh crowd.

Wales beat England under a closed roof in 2013 but were beaten when it was kept open two years ago.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones yesterday gave an insight into why England would want the roof to be open for the second match of their Six Nations title defence.

“When it is closed it’s not claustrophobic, but I think there is essentially no escape for anyone or anything,” he said.

“Sometimes that is a great place to be. It’s the sort of occasion you want to be involved in.”

England boss Jones said before making the call: “Maybe it will be oscillating — we’ll catch it at the right time. I have no idea, I don’t worry about it.

“All we are worried about is playing well. It can be open or closed. We don’t care. If we have a say in it, we’ll make a decision at the appropriate time.”

WALES: L Halfpenny (Toulon); G North (Northampton), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), L Williams (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); R Evans (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), J Ball (Scarlets), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Moriarty (Gloucester).

Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), N Smith (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), C Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Bath), G Davies (Scarlets), S Davies (Ospreys), J Roberts (Harlequins).

ENGLAND: M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), M Itoje (Saracens), J Clifford (Harlequins), N Hughes (Wasps).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), M Mullan (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te’o (Worcester), J May (Gloucester).

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