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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 08:57 GMT
City prepares for centenary clash
Grand Slam celebrations
Thousands of supporters are expected to descend on Cardiff
Cardiff is preparing for the arrival of thousands of rugby fans in the run up to Saturday's rugby international against the New Zealand All Blacks.

The match comes 100 years after the two sides first met and a capacity crowd is expected at the Millennium Stadium.

Most hotels in the city are fully booked and many have had to employ extra staff to cope with the demand.

Police have warned they will crack down on anti-social behaviour by issuing on the spot fines.

First match

The Wales versus New Zealand match is traditionally among the biggest fixtures in world rugby.

Wales' famous 3-0 victory over New Zealand in Cardiff in 1905 was the All Blacks' only loss on a 35-match tour to the UK, and helped cement rugby union as the national game in both countries.

All Blacks training in Cardiff
Wales first played New Zealand in 1905, winning 3-0

The match is also noted for helping to establish the tradition of singing national anthems before internationals, after Welsh supporters responded to the All Blacks' haka with a spontaneous rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Wales have not beaten Saturday's opponents for more than 50 years - a 13-8 victory in 1953.

With more than 70,000 expected at the Millennium Stadium and thousands more likely to watch the game in the pubs of Cardiff, police said 80 officers would be on duty in the city centre to deter troublemakers.

Superintendent Martin Jones said fans who misbehaved could be given an 80 fixed penalty notice.

'Visible presence'

Mr Jones, in charge of policing the city centre, said: "We want to welcome people to Cardiff to enjoy the city, the rugby and the family atmosphere.

"There will be a visible police presence in the city [with] approximately 80 officers on duty.

"If you choose to misbehave, if you choose to urinate in the street or discard litter and act in an anti social [way] you will be dealt with by police officers who will seek to utilise the fixed penalty notice.

"That will include an 80 fine.

"Early intervention does work and that is what we will be seeking to do on Saturday."

Saturday's match is Wales' first fixture of an autumn series which will see matches against New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and Australia in successive weeks.

Chief executive of Cardiff's Chamber of Commerce Russell Goodway said the series could pump between 6m and 8m into the local economy.

"It's not just buying the ticket it's the spend in the city - the hotels and the hospitality sector do particularly well out of event days.

"You could get as many as 200,000 people in the city tomorrow afternoon - it's not just the 75,000 that are here (in the Millennium Stadium) so it's incredibly important."




SEE ALSO:
Phillips passes Holmes' approval
03 Nov 05 |  International
Fans thank Grand Slam heroes
02 May 05 |  Wales
In Pictures: Grand Slam party
02 May 05 |  In Pictures


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