The Six Nations committee announced on Wednesday that England would travel to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Feb 4, the first time in the 127 years of the Five or Six Nations that it will not start on a Saturday.
It will also be the first time that two Home Union sides will meet on a Friday night. France hosted Wales at the Stade de France in 2009 before the corresponding game in Cardiff in this year’s championship.
The Friday night project has so far not been popular with supporters or players, but last month the committee took the decision to continue with it after a two-year trial because so far the matches have commanded record shares of viewing figures while the Wales v France match proved to be the most financially lucrative of the season for the Welsh Rugby Union.
The scheduling of the Friday night match, which will have a 7.45 kick-off, however, prompted criticism from supporters and warnings from the two main train companies serving the Welsh capital. Twickenham has already been ruled out as a Friday night venue because of police concerns about associated traffic problems.
“Switching the game to a Friday night will impact greatly on supporters trying to get to the game at what will be rush hour at a time of the year when weather can wreak havoc,” said Helen McAteer, secretary of the Northampton Saints supporters’ club.