WRU in negotiations with RFU over Twickenham use


Former wing Adrian Hadley has backed Wales playing “home” games at Twickenham because of coronavirus.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has been in negotiations with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to host autumn games at English rugby’s home.

Cardiff’s Principality Stadium remains a standby hospital in case of a second spike of the pandemic with no date set before it can return as a rugby venue.

“These are unprecedented times,” said ex-dual code international Hadley.

“Some supporters would dread Welsh games being played at Twickenham and giving the RFU revenue to spend on the game in England, but commercially they (WRU) need to look at it.

“I can understand some people’s views and why they wouldn’t want to play at the home of English rugby, but we need to look further than that and at the benefits it has for the Welsh national side.”

The Welsh Government is currently conducting a review into field hospitals in Wales which is due to be published shortly.

Wales are in line to face Scotland in a rearranged Six Nations match on 31 October before at least three games in an eight-team tournament including the Six Nations sides and Fiji and Japan or Georgia.

Wayne Pivac’s side were scheduled to face New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in November, but that programme is set to be replaced by the new tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wales and England in action during the 2020 Six Nations match at Twickenham on 7 March

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips told BBC Sport Wales earlier this month the use of alternative venues outside of Wales, including Twickenham, could depend on whether crowds would be permitted and grounds might not be confirmed officially until September.

The RFU is hopeful they will be able to host some supporters at Twickenham in November, possibly attracting 40,000 people.

That would be more than any Welsh sporting stadium could host apart from Principality Stadium.

“If there were no crowds clearly we’d want to play those games in Wales, it doesn’t make any sense to go further afield,” said Phillips.

“If we can play in front of part crowds that gives certain venue options.

“I have seen the Twickenham, Wembley and Tottenham scenarios, but because there’s a stadium fee attached to that you’d only want to go there if you could get a sizable crowd in to warrant paying the stadium hire fee.”

When asked directly whether Wales could play ‘home’ games at Twickenham, Phillips replied: “We’re weighing up any scenario.

“When you’re in a situation like this you don’t have the luxury of excluding too many things.

“If you’re looking at a football stadium you’re at the mercy of the fixture lists for those games. In this scenario you have to take what you can.”

Adrian Hadley at Twickenham
Adrian Hadley celebrates one of his nine Wales tries in 27 internationals during the 1988 success over England at Twickenham

Hadley is synonymous with Twickenham after scoring two tries in 11-3 win over England in 1988 which set Wales onto the Triple Crown that season.

He has also been a chief executive at Bridgend.

“They need to look at it commercially,” said Hadley.

“If that place was 82,000 capacity, if you can get 40,000-plus in with the social distancing rules and the WRU are going to make money on the back of it and you’re going get some international rugby, I can’t see anything wrong with it.”

Wales last played a “home” game in London when they defeated England at Wembley in the Five Nations in 1999 following Scott Gibbs’ late try and Neil Jenkins’ conversion.

Hadley believes Twickenham will have benefits over other London stadiums.

“The good thing about Twickenham is that it will be set up for the England internationals so the safety for the players and the supporters will be paramount,” said Hadley.

“Wembley is a bit more difficult to get to from Wales and the Tottenham Hotspur stadium has been mooted as well.

“So they need to look at the travelling for the supporters as well and Twickenham ticks all those boxes.”

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