Wales to play home Autumn Nations Cup matches in Llanelli

Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Wales will play all three of their Autumn Nations Cup home games at Llanelli's Parc y Scarlets, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) announced on Monday.

Cardiff's Principality Stadium is currently unavailable after it was transformed into a field hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic and the WRU had contemplated moving the fixtures to a venue in London, with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium under consideration if spectators had been allowed to be present.

But with no prospect of fans being permitted back into major sports venues in Britain anytime soon, the WRU has decided to hold their matches, including a match against England on November 28, in the western town of Llanelli.

Parc y Scarlets, the 15,000-capacity home of regional outfit the Scarlets, had already been announced as the venue for this Saturday's virus-delayed Six Nations match against Scotland and an Autumn Nations Cup game with Georgia on November 21.

"It is no secret that more than three-quarters of the annual income which supports Welsh rugby at all levels comes directly from our international game, and specifically from hosting Wales matches in front of capacity crowds," said WRU chief executive Steve Phillips in a statement.

"That is why we made contingency plans to play matches in London and why we have waited as long as possible before resigning ourselves to the prospect of playing behind closed doors in Wales."

But, citing the "bigger picture" that meant public health concerns "must come first", Phillips added: "We know the nation will be tuning in and will be with us at Parc y Scarlets in spirit if not in person, and we look forward to the day when we will all be able to gather together once again in more familiar circumstances at Principality Stadium."

Wales begin their Autumn Nations Cup campaign away to Ireland in Dublin on November 13.