South East Wales

Wales v New Zealand: Rugby fans warned 'arrive early'

Fans at the Principality Stadium
Image caption Fans began arriving at the Principality Stadium in plenty of time on Saturday

Wales rugby fans were warned they could miss the start of Saturday's game with New Zealand if they did not arrive at the Principality Stadium early.

The 74,500 sell-out crowd for the 17:15 GMT kick-off were checked due to increased security while the UK's terror threat level remains at severe.

Trains from London will take an hour longer due to upgrade work but there will be 11 extra services to Cardiff.

The M4 westbound will be shut at Newport overnight on Saturday at 19:00.

But fans heeded the call and queues that marred the first autumn international defeat to Australia, when many fans missed kick-off, were avoided.

Many had already begun queuing outside the stadium before 15:30.

A full city centre road closure began in Cardiff at 13:45, ahead of the Principality Stadium gates opening at 14:15.

The Welsh Rugby Union has told supporters "the later you leave it, the greater the risk of you missing the kick-off" or the Haka - the All Blacks' legendary pre-match Maori war cry.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wales fans risk missing New Zealand's legendary haka if they do not get into stadium early on Saturday

The WRU wanted 30,000 fans to be in the ground in the first hour-and-a-half of gates opening ahead of the test match with the back-to-back world champions - compared to just 7,000 in the first 90 minutes of gates opening for the Australia game.

The union said it was "more important for fans to arrive early than it has ever been in the history of international rugby in Cardiff" as it is the first sold-out rugby event at the Principality Stadium since the newly-enhanced security measures were introduced.

Stadium bosses advised fans "not to bring a bag at all" as large bags and large umbrellas are not allowed into the ground.

"We know we can get everyone in safely and securely and ensure they don't miss a minute of the much loved Haka and, most importantly, the game," said stadium manager Mark Williams.

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Media captionKick-off warning for Welsh rugby fans

The Principality Stadium is working with the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit, although South Wales Police has stressed there is no specific threat to Cardiff.

Rail companies are advising passengers to travel to Cardiff on the earliest possible service on Saturday, warning services "will be busy all day".

Great Western Railway (GWR) will add at least one more high-speed train to normal services, but upgrade work between Swindon and Didcot on Saturday means journeys from London will take about an hour longer.

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Media captionWales v New Zealand: Staring down the haka in 2008

GWR has added 11 services from all directions while Arriva Trains Wales has added extra capacity to Valley line trains.

Buses will be diverted out of city centre bus stops and will terminate at either Churchill Way, Greyfriars Road or Tudor Street.

Cardiff Bus night services will be available on routes to Ely, Thornhill, St Mellons and Pontprennau until 03:30 on Sunday.

Cardiff council has a full city centre road closure programme in place on Saturday afternoon.

Image copyright Principality Stadium
Image caption Map of road closures in Cardiff on Saturday

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