So what did we learn from the two Friday night experiments after France defeated Wales in the third round of Six Nations matches?

Firstly, once the anthems are played it doesn’t really matter whether it is Friday night at 8pm or Saturday afternoon at 3pm. If you are treated to an enthralling game of rugby – even one that your side narrowly loses – then the day and the time does not really matter.

However, it did give the 6N weekend a rather disjointed feel and despite a full house in Paris I am reliably informed that the atmosphere outside the stadium was far more muted than you can usually expect to experience during a rugby international.

As one seasoned supporter put it: “If they play it on a Friday night again I won’t be going. I’d rather stay home.”

Secondly, it is possible to bypass draconian French advertising laws if your shirt sponsor is a brewer (in the case of Wales, the Cardiff-based Brains & Sons).

But I can’t help thinking that although plenty of imagination went in the alternative Welsh slogan (“Try Essai”) it lacked the impact and instant recognition of the previous changed strip – “Brawn” instead of “Brains”.

There were enough column inches devoted to the new-look shirt, however, to keep the commercially-minded happy.

So from a marketing and PR perspective, Friday night in Paris was possibly a bit of a hit and miss occasion.

It wasn’t a disaster. But, the rugby match itself aside, it didn’t really meet expectations.

From an irrational Welsh supporters point of view, however, it was a horrendous experience.

Clearly Wales lost because the Friday night kick-off is such an alien concept (actually, they lost to the better team and because they failed to keep hold of the ball for most of the second half).

And the switch in shirt slogan didn’t help either as we lost whatever mojo the “Brawn” version provided (I told you this was an irrational supporter’s view). Indeed, if the Welsh team had used their brains a bit more the scoreline might well have been different.

The question is will we see such experimentation continue?

Undoubtedly, Brains and the Welsh Rugby Union will continue to find ways around the French advertising laws.

And I fully expect at least one more Friday night kick-off in next season’s 6N as the power of TV rights continue to hold sway.

The supporters’ view is secondary to the requirements of the TV companies and if it suits their advertisers and schedules then so be it.


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