The Millennium Stadium roof will be closed for Judgement Day III after over 70 per cent of voting fans made the call in an online poll.
The decision on closing the national ground’s famous roof for tomorrow’s match (Saturday), which has already a attracted a fast-approaching 50,000-strong crowd, was put to a public vote this week in an unprecedented move by event organisers.
The host regions for the Guinness Pro12 back-to-back derby day, the Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues, in consultation with the away teams, the Ospreys and the Scarlets, agreed to ‘go to the polls’.
Always a talking point, the roof situation seems to grip the imagination of the watching public every time a major event comes to town and thousands of votes were cast in the 40hr period fans were given to make their ‘open or shut’ case.
The Blues take on the Ospreys (KO 2.30pm) and the Dragons face the Scarlets (4.45pm) in the third Guinness PRO 12 double-header to be held in the Welsh capital.
A record crowd is already expected with tickets (£10) available via the wru website’s print-at-home service (wru.wales/tickets) up until 12 noon tomorrow, from the WRU shop on Westgate Street and at Gate 6, right up until kick-off.
And Millennium Stadium manager Mark Williams is encouraging any fans who have yet to commit, to get their tickets early to avoid the large walk-up crowds expected on the day.
“We are expecting a few thousand fans to march on the Millennium Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to pick up tickets,” said Williams.
“That’s great news for the event and it shows how Judgement Day has really captured the imagination this year.
“We have the capacity to cope with that kind of demand, but we would like to strongly advise fans who want to avoid the queues to buy their tickets in advance or use the ‘print-at-home’ service which we provide online right up to match-day.”
Debates over the roof raged as recently as this year’s RBS Six Nation’s Championship with visiting coaches expressing differing viewpoints on closure to the home side.
The roof question is always resolved by the event owner, in the Six Nations example the roof simply remains open unless both sides agree to close it, as decreed by the six nations committee.
At the Rugby World Cup later this year, when the Millennium Stadium hosts eight matches – including two Wales games – the solution is equally simple with England 2015 having decided that Welsh rugby’s crowning cover will remain in place throughout a given match-day.
But this weekend the four regions, Pro Rugby Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union joined together to leave it to the fans to decide, with all parties genuinely in the dark as to which way the vote would go.
Fans voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the noise in and the weather out, closing the roof to undoubtedly maximise the atmosphere of the day.
Should the roof be open or shut for Judgement Day III?
Shut 72.60 %
Open 27.40 %
Tickets for Judgement Day III, costing £10 each (not including booking fees), can be purchased from: WRU Ticket Office: 02920 822432 (www.wru.wales/tickets, where print-at-home will be available up until 12 noon on match day) or by calling ticket master on 0844 847 1881