Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Wales and Scotland to open Six Nations under closed roof at Principality Stadium

Rain is expected in Cardiff on Saturday.

Wales v Argentina – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Wales v Argentina – Autumn International – Principality Stadium

The Principality Stadium roof will be closed – following earlier uncertainty – for Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations opener between Wales and Scotland.

Under Six Nations rules, both countries have to agree for the roof to be closed.

Wales’ stance is always for the roof to be shut, but if Six Nations opposition disagree, then it stays open.

Press Association Sport understands that Scotland expressed a preference to the Welsh Rugby Union on Tuesday for an open roof, but they also wanted an option of being able to reconsider their stance later in the week.

Wales, though, were left frustrated by the lack of a clear decision. It was set to stay open, but Scotland have now agreed to Wales’ request for a closed roof.

It means the 74,500-capacity Cardiff venue will not be subjected to the elements, with a current forecast of rain before, during and after the game, which has a 2.15pm kick-off.

Speaking generally about the roof situation earlier this week, Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “I think we try to be consistent about the roof. My opinion of the roof is it’s our stadium, and we should decide whether it is open or

“We have always been consistent about saying we feel it should be closed. It’s a great atmosphere when it is like that, but at the moment, it is pretty much decided by the away team, and I don’t think that’s the way it should be.

“It is our stadium, and we should decide what happens to it. My views haven’t changed on that. Our position hasn’t changed.”

And Gatland’s Scotland counterpart Gregor Townsend said on Wednesday: “I’ll be honest with you, we would like dry conditions, so if it’s dry conditions outside there’s no need to close the roof, if it’s not, then let’s close the roof and
let’s have a really good game.”

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley, meanwhile, believes Scotland will arrive in Cardiff as favourites – despite not having won on Welsh soil for 16 years.

Scotland beat Wales at Murrayfield last season, while an impressive autumn campaign saw them crush Australia and run world champions New Zealand close.

“Under Gregor Townsend, they are playing great rugby and did particularly well in the autumn,” Howley said.

“They beat us last year and are favourites coming to Cardiff. They are buoyed by the way that they’ve played, and it’s going to be a great game.”

Wales will have 10 players from the in-form Scarlets in their starting line-up, including a first appearance as starting fly-half for Rhys Patchell, who replaces an injured Dan Biggar.

“The regional game is important, and the self-belief and confidence that the players get from winning is a huge fillip,” Howley added.

“There is a strut about those (Scarlets) players, and I am sure you will see that on the weekend.

“We want Rhys on the ball as often as possible. He has skills in the back-field as a primary decision-maker, he is able to kick, pass and run, but it’s about controlling the game on Saturday.

“We are looking for him to play the game on his terms and make the right decisions at first receiver.”

Wales will complete their preparations for Scotland on Friday, which is also the 10th anniversary of Gatland’s first game at the helm – a 26-19 Six Nations victory over England at Twickenham.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph