Six Nations 2019: Joe Schmidt surprised by Wales’ Cardiff roof request

Six Nations 2019: Joe Schmidt surprised by Wales’ Cardiff roof request

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Joe Schmidt indicates Ireland want Cardiff roof to be left open
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.

Joe Schmidt has hinted Wales broke protocol in asking Six Nations bosses to close the Principality Stadium roof for the potential tournament decider.

Under Six Nations rules, both teams would have to agree on the issue.

Schmidt said Wales had asked for the measure because of the bad weather forecast for Saturday’s game.

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

“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,” said Schmidt.

“So they’ve said to the Six Nations directly, ‘can it be closed?”‘

Wales ‘over-watered pitch in 2017’ says Schmidt

Ireland still should receive the final say on the roof but Schmidt refused to be drawn, simply insisting his team would cope one way or another.

When asked what Ireland want, Schmidt continued: “We’ll adapt, we’ll adapt.

“At the moment I’m not sure about the roof.”

Schmidt fears closing the roof could make 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.”

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 confirmed he was waiting on a final decision but expected Ireland to ask for the roof to be open.

“We have not heard definitively but we understand they want it open, which is not a concern for us,” said Gatland.

“My only concern is that if it is pouring down with rain then we do have a responsibility to the game for a spectacle.

“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.”

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