‘Strange’ Six Nations kicks off for Wales this weekend in an empty Cardiff

Ahead of the big kick-off, CJS News brought together Wales and Scarlets star Aaron Shingler and WalesOnline rugby Journalist Ben James to chat about the unusual tournament ahead.

The Six Nations is always the highlight of a Welsh sporting fan’s calendar – a sweet eight-week stretch of rugby, singing and friends.

But this year’s tournament will be unlike any other. The coronavirus pandemic means the streets and pubs of Cardiff will be empty. For once, the Principality Stadium will be strangely quiet.

It’s no wonder that the build-up to Wales’ clash with Ireland this weekend has been a little flat.

Speaking on CJS News’ Facebook Live, Wales and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler says the lack of fans will be “strange”.

“If the game has a few mistakes you might see a bit of a flat spell where the crowd lifts you up, you’re not going to have that,” he said.

“You’re not going to have that roar of the crowd. It does give you more energy, it gives you that adrenaline.”

WalesOnline rugby correspondent Ben James said it will also be weird for fans.

“One of the most enjoyable parts of the Six Nation weekend is literally just walking into town,” he said. “Seeing Cardiff transformed into a completely different city.”

But even without the fans, the importance of the Six Nations to Wales is still clear.

“It basically defines the agenda for the next week,” Ben said. “If Wales do well in rugby, then everything is better for the next seven days.”

Aaron said winning the tournament in 2012 and 2013 was a childhood dream.

“As a kid you always see people winning these trophies and would love to be a part of it,” he said, “and to actually be a part of it was just unreal really.”

With lockdown continuing indefinitely, rugby fans across Wales will be hoping for some good results to lift their spirits.

Wales kick start their 2021 Six Nations campaign on Sunday against Ireland. Kick off at the Principality Stadium is at 3 p.m.