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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 24 May, 2019
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Ireland agree to close the roof for Cardiff clash with Wales

Joe Schmidt has opted to go for a shut roof, with scattered showers forecast for Cardiff.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Principality Stadium

THE ROOF WILL be closed for tomorrow’s Six Nations clash between Ireland and Wales at the Principality Stadium [KO 8.05pm].

Wales have a preference for shutting the retractable roof for games at the Cardiff venue, but opposition teams have the final say in whether it remains open or not.

The roof being closed at the Millennium Stadium The roof will be shut tomorrow in Cardiff. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

England opted to leave the roof open for their clash with the Welsh in the second round of this years’s championship, but Ireland have agreed to close it.

Scattered showers are forecast for Cardiff tomorrow and, presumably with that in mind, Joe Schmidt and Ireland have gone along with the Welsh desire to close the roof.

“It’s staying closed,” said Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde this afternoon after his side’s captain’s run at the Principality Stadium.

Ireland are more than happy to go with our decision. In fairness, from the supporters’ point of view, that’s going to add to the occasion. It will be a fantastic atmosphere and that’s what it’s all about.

“Teams come to Cardiff wanting to play in the Principality and make it as great an occasion as possible. It’s closed, so we’re looking forward to that.”

The closed roof will serve to accentuate the volume of what is expected to be a raucous crowd in the stadium tomorrow. The pitch should remain dry, of course, although Schmidt has previously spoken about the manner in which moisture tends to build up inside the stadium when the roof is closed.

Ireland opted to leave the roof open when the sides met here in the 2015 Six Nations, although they did play under a closed roof in Cardiff in their 2015 World Cup games against Canada, France and Argentina.

Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and Ross Moriarty Wales' players emerge for their captain's run today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Meanwhile, McBryde says he expects Wales to bounce back from the criticism they have faced following defeats to England and Scotland.

Interim head coach Rob Howley has decided not to make any changes to his matchday 23 after the loss to the Scots in round three, and a response is now required.

“I think each individual deals with it differently. If you go looking for it, you’re going to find the criticism,” said McBryde.

As far as I’m concerned, when you’re taking part in international rugby as a player and a coach, you’re always under constant pressure. Maybe a little more so in Wales.

“But the way we react to it, that can only be shown on the field. For myself personally, there’s still a level of hurt there from the Scottish defeat and I’m sure players are feeling that as well.

“We need to react in a positive manner in the opening stages with what will be a very confident Irish team.”

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Murray Kinsella

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