Millennium roof will remain open
February 14, 2009
Wales' Millennium Stadium roof will remain open against England © Getty Images
Wales and England will play out their vital Six Nations match on Saturday afternoon under an open Millennium Stadium roof after England boss Martin Johnson requested that it be so.
In order for the roof to be closed, creating the pressure-cooker atmosphere that was seen during Wales' autumn internationals, both coaches have to agree to it. Johnson has refused to do so, meaning that the game will be open to the elements.
"It's an outdoor game," Johnson told the BBC. "Unless there's extreme weather conditions that are really going to affect the surface it should be open. Both teams have to agree to have it shut, that's my understanding.
"I've played indoors a couple of times, I think it's just better [for the game to be played outdoors], it was intended to be an outdoor sport," Johnson added. "We're pretty relaxed about it, I don't think it's going to win or lose anyone the game but I think the weather's supposed to be pretty good tomorrow so let's get it open and get it on."
Wales assistant coach Rob Howley was unconcerned by the roof being open, saying that his side were ready to lay regardless of the stadium roof. Italy boss Nick Mallett also requested that the roof be open during last year's tournament, although his side was dispatched with a record 47-8 scoreline.
"If it's open or closed it's a Test arena. It's open so we just get on with it," said Howley. "I suppose recently we have played with it closed, it sweats a lot. It's very wet and I don't know what the forecast is - apparently it's cloudy weather.
"And if it rains, it rains. I think that we have to be comfortable in whatever environment we play in and certainly the players are used to whatever the conditions will be."
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league