The roof of the Millennium Stadium will be open during the crucial Six Nations clash between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.
Six Nations rules dictate that the away side must agree with the hosts to have the roof closed. Because it is within their right, Ireland have now vetoed Wales’ request to have the roof closed, with the match set to take place in the open air.
This comes after Ireland coach Joe Schmidt accused Wales of breaking tournament protocol by circumventing his side in the discussions whether the roof should be open or closed. Schmidt alleged that Wales went straight to the Six Nations chiefs instead, asking for permission to play the match under a closed roof due to poor weather forecasts.
‘There’s been a request from Wales 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?”‘
While the Welsh Rugby Union denied the accusation, Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted that they have not heard back from tournament organisers yet, but confirmed he had accepted that the roof will be open due to Ireland’s refusal to cooperate.
‘We have not heard definitively, but my concern is that if it is pouring down with rain, then we do have a responsibility to the game for a spectacle,’ Gatland said.
‘There may be nine million people watching it on TV, but I don’t see the point having the opportunity to close the roof, [and by not doing so] to potentially play in terrible weather conditions.’
Photo: Mike Hewitt/All Sport