Six Nations 2015: Wales decide to open stadium roof for Ireland clash

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium
Cardiff's Millennium Stadium has a 78,000 capacity
Six Nations 2015: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: 14 March, 2015 Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD, Red Button, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Wales have decided to keep the Millennium Stadium roof open for their Six Nations match against Ireland on Saturday.

Ireland have yet to express their preference but rules state that if one team wants the roof open the decision is final.

This is the first time Wales have not asked for the roof to be closed during Warren Gatland's reign.

Assistant coach Rob Howley expects a "kicking feast".

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Wales coach Warren Gatland says there is always "extra spice" when Wales take on Ireland in the Six Nations.

"We've taken the decision early, it needs to be open and we wanted to know sooner rather than later," said Howley.

"The weather forecast is good for the weekend and it's something which we look forward to.

"We wanted to know the roof was going to be open, so we've taken that decision. Under our coaching regime, I think that is the first time."

Grand Slam-chasing Ireland travel to Cardiff with Wales knowing a win would keep them in the title race.

With Ireland stalling on their decision regarding the roof, it is believed Wales have taken it upon themselves to take the initiative by making a proactive call.

In the past, Wales have asked for the Millennium Stadium roof to be closed in an attempt to maximise the venue's intimidating atmosphere.

An open roof could influence how frequently Wales and Ireland choose to kick, and the aerial battle has been highlighted as an area which could prove crucial to the game's outcome.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards praised his side's aerial prowess after last month's win against Scotland, while Irish players such as Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney are regarded as two of the most astute tactical kickers in the northern hemisphere.

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"It's an aerial battle we're prepared for," said Howley.

"Both sides are desperate to win and the key is going to be territory.

"I think we've all spoken about the game and the kicking feast. There's ways and means of beating a blitz defence and one of those is kicking.

"There's no doubt we will kick the ball on Saturday, as everyone will know.

"It's [Ireland] a side that can kick accurately under pressure, and putting kicks into positions where they challenge the back three.

"There's not much space so we have to try and create that space. That's a challenge predominantly for the [Wales] half-backs, like it is for both Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray."

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