Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has said that he would like to see the Principality Stadium’s roof remain open when his side take on Wales on Saturday.
Generally, the decision on whether the roof remains open or closed rests with the visiting team.
However, Schmidt revealed at this afternoon’s team announcement at their base in Carton House that Wales have submitted a special request directly to Six Nations officials asking that the roof is closed. As a result, this looks to leave the decision out of Ireland’s hands.
That request from Wales is based on the “interest of the quality of the game and the very poor weather forecast that the roof be closed” according to Schmidt.
The weather forecast for Cardiff on Saturday is for heavy rain.
“Well, there’s been a request gone into the Six Nations that it be closed,” Schmidt began.
“For us, I think, the last time it was closed we arrived there and there was a lot said about making it good for spectators and then the sprinklers were on for 30 minutes and the ground was very, very damp before the game started.
“So that probably enters into our minds about which closed is it going to be? Is it going to be closed and wet, or is it going to be closed and dry? If it’s closed and wet, we might as well have the roof open and let the rain come in.”
“At the moment I’m not sure about the roof. For us, last time we said ‘look, we don’t mind, you choose’ and they chose closed but it made the field incredibly wet at the start of the game.
“So we will probably be happy enough if it’s open anyway. We’ll adapt to whatever conditions the game’s played in and if the Six Nations decide that it’s going to be closed, well it will be closed and we’ll play in those conditions and if they decide that it’s open, then we’ll play in those conditions.
“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. So they’ve said to the Six Nations directly, can it be closed.”
The Ireland head coach reiterated that his team would adapt to whatever conditions greet his side on Saturday but also made the point that the visiting team would “normally” make the decision which hints that Wales’ special request is not a regular occurrence.