Wales close Principality roof to create ‘fortress’ atmosphere for England

Matches between Wales and England in Cardiff this decade have tended to be preceded by a skirmish over the roof at the Principality Stadium but it will be closed on Saturday with the hosts not needing their opponents’ consent because the World Cup warm-up is not bound by competition rules.

The decision is Wales’s and, while rain is forecast in the Welsh capital, a heatwave would not have tempted them to let in the air as they look to the atmosphere in a closed stadium to help them avenge the 33-19 defeat at Twickenham on Sunday.

“Playing at the stadium is something we always look forward to,” the Wales forwards’ coach, Robin McBryde, said. “It is a bit of a fortress for us [New Zealand were the last visitors to win there in November 2017] and the fans love it. I hope we will have the roof closed because we are in charge, building the atmosphere so we can really test ourselves out.

“We think England will be much changed from last weekend and come with some big names and that’s what we want. You want to test yourselves against the best teams in the world and that is what we will be doing on Saturday.”

Wales intended to keep changes to a minimum to replicate their first two games in the World Cup, which will also be played six days apart, but they will be without the fly-half Gareth Anscombe, who suffered knee ligament damage at Twickenham that ruled him out of the tournament. The flanker Justin Tipuric is among the players who picked up minor knocks.

Wales’s final two warm-up games are against Ireland, who are spending eight days training in the Algarve before the match against England at Twickenham next week. Ireland’s head coach, Joe Schmidt, has trimmed the squad by three to 40 and will have to decide whether to gamble in Japan on the fly-half Joey Carbery, who will be out for between four and six weeks after sustaining an ankle injury against Italy last weekend.

Duncan Taylor and John Barclay return from long-term injuries for Scotland against France in Nice on Saturday. South Africa have been rocked by the resignation of their attack coach, Swys de Bruin, for “personal and medical” reasons.

The former Leicester wing Steve Booth has died at the age of 42.

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