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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 19:19 GMT

Australia want roof closed

Australia coach Rod Macqueen wants the roof closed

World Cup finalists Australia are to make a formal request that the roof of the Millennium Stadium be closed for Saturday's showpiece clash against France in Cardiff.

The Wallabies have now returned to the Welsh capital, nine days after seeing their quarter final against the host nation ruined by wet weather.

And Australia coach Rod Macqueen revealed tonight that a formal request would be made by Wallabies' management to have the roof pulled across.

[ image: Australia face France in the final after 'Les Bleus' demolished New Zealand at Twickenham]
Australia face France in the final after 'Les Bleus' demolished New Zealand at Twickenham
"If you have a Ferrari, then you should use it," Macqueen said, echoing sentiments expressed earlier in the tournament by Australia centre Tim Horan.

"I believe that we are making a formal request, and that we have got official channels to go through.

"I am sure France would like to see the roof closed as well, although I'm sure that providing the pitch is not too wet, then we will be alright."

Macqueen admitted that quarter-final elements made life difficult for both Wales and Australia, and believes that every opportunity should be taken to make Saturday's fourth World Cup final a memorable spectacle.

The BBC's Adam Mynott previews the final
Australia's case for closing the roof could be strengthened if conditions are bad for Thursday's third place play-off between New Zealand and South Africa, which kicks off just 43 hours before the final.

The £120m Millennium Stadium came complete with retractable roof when it was completed just in time for the World Cup competition, which began one month ago.

When asked about New Zealand's shock semi-final defeat by France at Twickenham, Macqueen replied: "France surprised me, but they fully deserved their win, after producing probably the best second half performance we've seen in the tournament.

"The All Blacks lost a bit of composure, and it was a convincing win for France in the end. New Zealand didn't lose the game, France won it.

"They are an extremely talented side, and we are not under any illusions about Saturday. It is going to be a very tough game - we respect the French very much."

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