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History will made in Paris on Friday night (8pm our time, 9pm locally) when Wales take on their French hosts in the Six Nations rugby championship.
It is the first 6N match to be played on a Friday night and needless to say it has not been universally welcomed, with some of the criticism coming from the French coach.
So is Friday night alright for rugby?
I’m not impressed. I don’t like the idea of such a big match being played on Friday night, but then again I’m still a bit of a “3pm on a Saturday” supporter.
When I first started going to watch rugby with my dad matches always happened at 3pm on a Saturday, apart from the odd 7.30pm kick-off on a Wednesday night and Boxing Day (although that was always a 3pm kick-off too, whichever day of the week it fell on).
All that changed when money started to be pumped into the game and TV rights became all-important.
I’m not completely averse to kick-offs changing to different times and days, but a little balance goes a long way. For example, a couple of seasons ago the number of home matches Cardiff Blues played on a Saturday afternoon could be counted on just a few fingers of one hand – which makes it rather difficult for exiled supporters like me to attend matches.
The introduction of Sunday matches to the 6N was viewed by some as the beginning of the end, although I’m slightly more tolerant as it means I’m now able to catch all three matches on any given international weekend – either going to the game, or watching on TV.
But I can’t hep thinking that Friday night is a step too far.
I’ve no doubt that the atmosphere within the stadium will be electric – not least because the French want revenge for last year’s defeat to Wales, whilst the men in red want back-to-back championships. The Welsh team will hopefully be using their brains and brawn to good effect and not give a second thought to the day or the time.
And yet it simply does not feel right to have a 6N match taking place on a Friday night.
Without doubt the one and only consideration in this decision has been TV and its all-important demands.
With my irrational supporter’s head on, it is a disgraceful decision.
With my slightly less irrational PR and marketing head on, I’m still struggling to see the benefits of this change. Indeed, I’ve yet to hear or read anyone come up with a convincing argument why Friday night is a good choice for a rugby international kick-off.
Of course, should Wales win on Friday night then I’ll forget the day and time of kick-off quicker than you can say “Grand Slam”.