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Louis Rees-Zammit's 'fans' tweet ignites lively Six Nations debate

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit has ignited a lively debate on Twitter after endorsing the idea that his country’s home matches in the upcoming 2022 Six Nations championship should be moved to England in order to accommodate full capacity crowds. Current pandemic restrictions have resulted in live sport taking place behind closed doors in Wales, while there have also been reductions in Scotland (500), Ireland (5,000) and France (5,000).

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The clampdown has resulted in concerns that the Six Nations, which took place entirely behind closed doors in 2021, will be severely impacted again. While organisations such as the IRFU have insisted they are preparing to host Ireland’s February 5 opener versus Wales in Dublin, the WRU have reportedly scouted out venues in England to stage their round two home game versus Scotland on February 12.   

Wembley is reportedly unavailable due to its football schedule but there is a vast array of alternative stadiums available should the restrictions on live sport capacity continue in Wales and leave the WRU looking to take their home games to England rather than play them with no fans in attendance in Cardiff. 

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BBC Wales has reported on the speculation that a switch could happen and this story gained the approval overnight of Rees-Zammit, the 2021 Lions tourist who plays his club rugby with Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership. “Rugby is nothing without fans,” commented the soon-to-be 21-year-old who has played ten times for Wales. “Make this happen!!”

His comment lit up Twitter, gaining just under 2,000 likes in ten hours and more than 100 retweets. Some fans were upset with the idea that they have already forked out money for tickets and accommodation in Cardiff. 

One fan wrote: “All the tickets in Cardiff are already allocated. If it can be played in England then why can’t (Mark) Drakeford just allow fans in Cardiff? I have tickets to two games but if it is in England I can’t afford to fork out more money!”

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Another wrote in support of the switch to England: “These rules that Drakeford has put in for the government and sport is getting ridiculous. Not fair in the slightest. Yet England get a full stadium. Oh well, it’s only across the border so no doubt Welsh fans will be flooding in (if this does happen).”

Rees-Zammit’s support for the idea that Wales’ home games could take place in front of capacity crowds in England has come in a week of much speculation regarding the staging of the 2022 tournament.

For instance, Exeter boss Rob Baxter explained on Wednesday why he wouldn’t have an issue if England went ahead and staged all 15 matches in the tournament, mirroring how Australia has been the host for most of the 2020 and 2021 matches in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship.    

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