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Wales hope to have Principality Stadium roof closed for Six Nations

Wales want the Principality Stadium roof to be closed for all their home games in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

And interim head coach Rob Howley hopes the advent of bonus points in this season's tournament will provide a "nudge" for Six Nations chiefs.

Currently, both teams have to be in agreement for a roof closure, otherwise it remains open, but Howley believes a pursuit of best-possible playing conditions should be paramount.

Wales play Six Nations title holders England and Ireland, champions in 2014 and 2015, at home this term.

"I have asked the question, and believe it should be a closed stadium," said Howley, who is in charge of Wales' fortunes this season while Warren Gatland concentrates on British and Irish Lions business.

"You could have a scenario down the line when you played three home games that the away team need to win and we need to win with a bonus point. What are the best conditions?

"The higher echelons are, I hope, making a decision as we speak. Questions are being asked over the next week (about making it a closed stadium for the Six Nations), and I put it in the autumn when bonus points were coming in.

"We generally play in the autumn with the roof closed, and I made a mistake against Australia and kept it open because it was a fine day. I underestimated the occasion, and we did not have the best conditions for the team. We all make mistakes.

"The roof has to be closed (going forward) for the best conditions and the game to be played to the benefit of both teams. It has to be the best conditions for the game of rugby.

"Tries in the Six Nations are generally scored in March because weather dictates the games in early February.

"Rugby should be played in the best conditions, and if we are able to create that in the Principality Stadium, I would like to think those decisions will be made sooner or later. I hope bonus points provide a nudge.

"The roof being closed would give us the best conditions for the best rugby."

Wales, meanwhile, will go into the Six Nations with a new captain after Howley handed lock Alun Wyn Jones leadership duties instead of record-breaking skipper Sam Warburton, who was in charge for 49 Tests.

Warburton, though, will still be part of Wales' playing leadership group, and Howley added: "When I spoke to him (last Monday) he was in a good mindset and a good place.

"I have no doubt that the experience and talent he can bring to us will be seen in the Six Nations. He is looking forward to the Six Nations.

"We have a leadership group, and I gave him the option of being part of it and he said: 'absolutely'. He has a lot to offer, and that is the key.

"He is trying to evolve his game, and there is no-one working harder than Sam. By not having the responsibility and accountability when Wales comes first, but Sam Warburton does, that will be the best for Sam."

Wales have a testing start to the tournament, facing a Sunday appointment with Conor O'Shea's Italy in Rome, before hosting England just six days later.

It provides an immediate test of resources, appearing unlikely that Howley will field the same team in both games, but a 36-man squad containing seven uncapped players gives him plenty of options.

"The challenge for us from a selection point of view is the first two games with a six-day turnaround," he said. "That is a challenge.

"We have talked a little bit in selection about the teams we put out against Italy and England. It will be exciting over the next 10 days to see how the young talent performs against experienced players in training.

"The dynamics of the squad with the new captain and new talent will create an edge we want."

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