Wales

Wales ready for Six Nations French Grand Slam rugby game

Wales winning the Six Nations in 2008
Image caption Wales last won the Six Nations Championship in 2008 when they also completed a Grand Slam

Up to 250,000 people are expected to descend on Cardiff on Saturday as Wales look to beat France to clinch a third rugby Grand Slam in eight years.

Extra trains are being put on and there will road closures in the city centre.

A supporters village is being set up complete with big screen at King Edward VII Avenue for those without tickets for the Millennium Stadium.

A big crowd is expected to watch the match, which kicks-off at 14:45 GMT, on a screen in Swansea's Castle Square.

Wales have already beaten Scotland, Ireland, England and Italy in this year's Six Nations Championship.

Fans from across the nation and further afield are travelling to Cardiff to see if the team can complete the tournament with another win.

Arriva Trains Wales said there would be extra services running from north Wales and Gloucester and additional carriages and extra seating on the Valleys network and west Wales and Ebbw Vale routes.

A spokesman said following the game customers should head for Cardiff Central station as soon as possible as services will operate on a first come, first served basis.

He added: "The usual crowd management queuing system will be in place and customers are reminded to be mindful of this when planning their return journey as they could be queuing for up to an hour or more.

Weather worries

"Warm and waterproof clothing is advised."

Cardiff council is urging those travelling into the city centre to use public transport where possible.

Those travelling by car are being asked to use the park and ride service based at Cardiff City football stadium.

There will be full road closures in the city centre between 12:45 GMT and 17:45 GMT.

The supporters' village is being set-up at King Edward VII Avenue rather than Coopers Field where it has been for previous Grand Slam deciders because of concerns about the weather.

It will open at 11:00 GMT and show all three final Six Nations games on the big screen.

The council's executive member for sport and culture Nigel Howells said for licensing reasons fans would not be allowed to take their own alcohol onto the site but there would be ample food and drink available.

"This is a huge match for the whole of Wales on Saturday and there will be a lot of people coming into the capital to soak up the atmosphere," he added.

Roger Pride, managing director of Cardiff & Co which markets the city, said it was estimated up to 250,000 people would be in the city centre on Saturday.

National anthems

"Rugby matches at the Millennium Stadium have really helped to put Cardiff on the map," he added.

"The direct benefit is also huge, with 74,000 people inside the ground, thousands more enjoying the match in bars and restaurants and for this match the fan zone with another 6,000 people watching on giant screens.

"We estimate that each match at the stadium will generate up to £10m for the city's economy."

BBC Wales weather forecaster Derek Brockway said there was a risk of showers in Cardiff on Saturday.

"There will be a few bright or sunny intervals but on the whole a lot of cloud," he added.

The game is also being shown on the big screen in Swansea's Castle Square.

Frances Jenkins, the city's tourism and events manger, said: "The Six Nations coverage has proved extremely popular over the last few months and we are expecting a sea of red in Castle Square this Saturday."

Among those heading from north Wales to the game will be Rhos Male Voice Choir from Wrexham who have been chosen to lead the singing of both national anthems.

Choir secretary Geraint Phillips said: "It's a great honour to be asked to sing at any Wales match in the Millennium Stadium, and now that the match will be Wales' Grand Slam decider, it makes it even more exciting."

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