Watch Wales at the Millennium Stadium for free

The Millennium Stadium will throw open its doors for another free-to-enter Wales training session on Monday 21st February (Gates open at 1.00pm for 2pm start), to give fans an exclusive glimpse of squad preparations at the mid-way point of the 2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland will put the likes of Matthew Rees, Ryan Jones, Shane Williams, Jamie Roberts, James Hook and Stephen Jones through their paces in one of the national coaching team’s typical tough training sessions and fans are being invited to watch it in its entirety, completely free of charge!

By mid February we will know how Wales have faired against the old enemy England at the Millennium Stadium and Gatland’s men will have returned home from their raid into Scottish lands at Murrayfield.

The Championship will undoubtedly be delicately poised as Wales prepare for their visit to Italy, where the Azzurri always present a mighty challenge.

All fans need to do to witness an unprecedented 40 minutes of rugby intensity at the Millennium Stadium for free – which will also give the opportunity for some lucky fans to meet their heroes – is logon to www.wru.co.uk/watchwales4free for full details of how to gain access and to register their intention to attend.

Gatland and fellow coaches Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins will conduct a full and typical session with the 28-man squad and fans are invited to stay for the duration.

“This is a unique opportunity for fans to get up close and personal to Wales squad preparations,” said defence coach Shaun Edwards. “The most passionate fans in the world have the chance to get a detailed look into their team’s preparations.

“We had a few thousand fans turn up at the Millennium Stadium in November for the first session of this type we have done at our Cardiff headquarters and fans on tour in New Zealand last summer where also treated to a unique insight into our preparations.

“But this will be the first time we have opened our doors during the white-hot intensity of Six Nations competition and we think as a squad it will be really good to see what goes on behind the scenes as we take them with us on our rugby journey in this most important of seasons.

“The Rugby World Cup is just around the corner and this free-to-enter open training session will give a real insight into squad life at a time when the entire nation will be focussing on rugby.”

The training session will involve strength and conditioning work, general rugby training and kicking practice and selected fans will also have the opportunity to meet players and collect autographs.

The session will be tailored to the specific demands of the week but will likely begin with warm up drills before the squad are put through their paces by defence coach Edwards.

The 28 players then usually split into specialist forwards and backs groups led by Howley and McBryde with Gatland taking watching brief, before a period of running rugby and full contact.

“We are at the start of a Rugby World Cup season, the preparations have begun in earnest and many of our fans will be with us for the entire journey,” said Wales wing and former IRB Player of the Year Shane Williams.

“This is a way of giving something back to them free of charge and encouraging them to stick with us all the way to the world cup as the fans are an integral part of this Welsh team.”

Wales and Scarlets captain and British Lion Matthew Rees said: “We have the best fans in the world in Wales and everyone knows times are hard at the moment so inviting them into the inner sanctum to watch us train is our way of giving something back to them.

“A good few thousand people turned up to the training session in November and we had a great atmosphere which was excellent for our match preparations. As much as we know how popular rugby is in Wales it’s always a boost as a player to be reminded that the nation is behind and these sessions certainly have that affect.

“It’s also good to give the fans them something for nothing if you like, and, with it being half term for schools, it’s a good opportunity for kids who may not normally get the chance to come and see us.

“We are looking forward to training in a great atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium, it will be something a little different and should actually be a great help to our own preparations for the Italy game as well.”

Edwards added: “So, if you can make it to Cardiff on Monday 21st February, please be our guests – you may have never been to the Millennium Stadium before or you may have watched every game since that inaugural win over the Springboks in 1999, everyone is welcome and the best news is it’s all for free.”

Fans are advised to logon onto www.wru.co.uk/watchwales4free now to avoid disappointment.

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