Friday 22 November 2019

Roof puzzle for Kidney

Ireland coach Declan Kidney says he was not asked for his preference on the Millenium Stadium roof for tomorrow's game. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney says he was not asked for his preference on the Millenium Stadium roof for tomorrow's game. Photo: Getty Images
Declan Kidney. Photo: Getty Images

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has been left bemused by suggestions that his side are responsible for the Millennium Stadium roof being open for tomorrow's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales - claiming they were not asked for their preference.

The standard procedure for Wales' internationals at the Cardiff ground has been for the visiting team to be asked whether they would prefer the roof open or closed.

The outcome is straightforward should both sides agree, but if the visitors differ in their view then it is their choice that prevails.

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde had said earlier today that Ireland had requested the roof be open for a match that will decide which of the teams will remain in the title mix going into the tournament's denouement next weekend.

He had said: "It's a shame they want the roof open - we would like to have given them a warm welcome with the roof closed - but it's going to be a close game.

"I am not sure what the weather forecast is for tomorrow. It's a unique atmosphere, and if the weather was to play a part in the outcome of the game I think it would be a shame. There is no point having a roof on the stadium, otherwise."

Kidney had hinted earlier in the week that Ireland may prefer the roof open, but when asked today he responded by saying: "To my knowledge, the thing is we would be asked within 48 hours but we did not get any official request and we weren't asked. You can only answer the question when you are asked and that period is over now.

"But the pitch looks good at the moment and a bit of fresh air never hurt anybody, so we are looking forward to playing there tomorrow."

Kidney was also keen to send a reminder to referee Jonathan Kaplan not to fall for Wales counterpart Warren Gatland's criticism of Irish ill-discipline.

Gatland had vowed earlier this week to speak to the South African over his concerns that the visitors would seek to deny Wales, seeking just a second win at home to Ireland since 1983, quick ball illegally.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson had been critical of the failure of Nigel Owens to award any Ireland player a yellow card during his side's 21-18 loss at Murrayfield two weeks' ago, and ill-discipline cost Ireland in their defeat to France as they lost a game where they outscored their opponents by three tries to one.

However, statistics show that Wales have actually conceded more free-kicks and penalties than Ireland, with the two sides currently the most ill-disciplined in the championship.

Kidney said: "We have taken in all our different aspects of play and I know from the stats that Warren has had to talk a lot more to his players than I have had to talk to mine.

"We will talk to the referee too and we have been following the progress of the coaches who have publicly talked about referees, and it seems to have worked in their favour in the past. Hopefully it won't do so in the future."

PA Media

The Left Wing: Champions Cup returns, Jacob Stockdale's development, and Simon Zebo goes back to Munster

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport