Jonathan Davies suggests Wales’ Six Nations home games should be played in England
Jonathan Davies has suggested that Wales’ Six Nations home games should be played in England.
The BBC pundit and former Welsh rugby international has responded to reports that the WRU is considering the option in response to Covid-19 regulations in Wales.
Davies argued that the WRU has to make decision to “survive” and that there was a lot of “finance involved”. He added that he does not “care” where the team plays.
Under the current rules fans are banned from all sporting events in Wales, including events held indoors and outdoors, and community level sports.
This means the Wales’ home Six Nations fixtures would have to be played behind closed doors. Crowds are currently allowed in England.
The Welsh Government has imposed restrictions in a bid to tackle the spread of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Jonathan Davies told the Telegraph: “When the WRU, the regions and Welsh rugby in general are struggling, I think they have to make a decision to survive.
“That is the important thing here. It’s not about where we play it – can they survive another Six Nations without fans coming in. That’s the decision they have to look at. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would judge them on whatever they did to be honest.
“It happened back in the 1990s when the Principality Stadium was being built. We went to Wembley, some games were successes and some weren’t, but it showed that Welsh fans were willing to travel to support their country. People have to make plans and are waiting on decisions all the time, and there is a lot of finance involved for everyone.”
He added: “The crowds add so much. I’m sure the Wales players would maybe rather play in England with a crowd than at home with no crowds. That’s a decision they have to make, I suppose. Ultimately, if they don’t get finances in, maybe the players won’t be getting paid by the regions.
“You have games at Christmas being cancelled in Cardiff, and then across the bridge in Bristol there’s a full house. It’s very frustrating. Especially when you saw Harlequins against Northampton, 78,000 in Twickenham for a club game.
“There are a lot of questions to be answered and big decisions to be made. But at the moment it’s all about finances. It’s a waiting game to see when the Welsh government comes out and makes a decision. From what I hear, the WRU haven’t had any communication or guidance from the government yet, and they’re always waiting on those [communications].
“I don’t care where they play, preferably Wales, but it all depends on revenue. They don’t want to take the game elsewhere, but if they need the money they have to look at alternatives.”
Speaking to the BBC, Health Minister Eluned Morgan had said that financial support may not be available to the WRU should they move matches to England.
“We’d be disappointed if the WRU made that decision [to move games to be played in England],” she said.
“There would obviously be financial consequences for them and there is an understanding from the Welsh Government that we would have to step in to support them financially if they did have to postpone those matches or cancel them.
“If they decided to go to England then it would be more difficult for us to come up with that financial support.”
However, Eluned Morgan said it was “early days” for the restrictions.
“Omicron is moving very quickly,” she said. “We’re hoping that we reach the peak and come down very quickly. Two of the matches are due to be played in March, so who knows?”