Jonathan Davies: No crowds for home Six Nations matches would 'disadvantage' Wales

Jonathan Davies fears Wales will be at a “disadvantage” if their home Six Nations matches are played at an empty Principality Stadium.

Covid restrictions in Wales mean elite sport in the country has been played behind closed doors since Boxing Day.

Wales begin the defence of their Six Nations title in Ireland on Saturday, 5 February, with their first home match against Scotland a week later.

"It's absolutely terrible when you play in front of no crowds. Having experienced last year's Six Nations with no crowds, it's just not the same. Seeing every other country having crowds, you're going to be at a disadvantage if you're playing in an empty stadium for your home games. I don't want to say too much more just in case I get into trouble."

Because of the restrictions in place at the moment, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is considering playing home Six Nations games in England.

The WRU’s preference remains to play Wales’ home fixtures at the Principality Stadium in front of capacity crowds but, for that to happen, the Welsh government will need to ease restrictions.

Ministers will consider that option when restrictions are reviewed next week but First Minister Mark Drakeford has said it would be a “big if” whether the situation would allow that to happen.

He has rebuffed calls to ease restrictions now on sports events, following a similar announcement in Scotland.

There are no crowd restrictions in England, while a maximum of 5,000 fans can watch matches in Ireland and France.

All Six Nations matches were played behind closed doors last year but Wales were able to welcome back capacity crowds for their four autumn Tests in October and November 2021.

“I’ve been fortunate to play for such a long time and playing in front of crowds is where you get that excitement and buzz,” centre Davies said.

“As much as I want to, I’m not going to go into more depth. The boys love playing in front of crowds and the boys want crowds.”


‘Watch this space’


Wales name their squad for the Six Nations next week, with Davies hoping to be included having been in and out of the team in recent months.

The vastly experienced 33-year-old has been regarded as one the world’s leading centres during the course of an illustrious career which has seen him win two Grand Slams and impress on two British and Irish Lions tours.

Davies is with the Scarlets as they prepare to face Top14 leaders Bordeaux in the Champions Cup on Sunday and, while his focus is on this weekend’s trip to France, he still has an eye on adding to his 93 Wales caps.

“I just want to play for my country as long as I can,” he said.

“I’m not going to put any flags in the ground and say ‘this is where I want to get to’.

“Every time you have the opportunity to put on that Welsh jersey, you’re part of a fortunate few.

“For me, any opportunity I get to do it, I’ll cherish that. At the moment, my body feels really good.

“I feel that I’ve still got a few more miles on the clock and I’ll do everything I can to make sure my form is good enough to be worthy of being selected.

“Watch this space over the next couple of years. I love playing for my country and I’ll do it for as long as I can.”

Original article published 12.01.2022 on the BBC Sport website

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