19 Jun 2009

Italians out in the cold in roof row

6:27 am on 19 June 2009

A suspicious Australia have knocked back a late Italian request to open the stadium roof for tomorrow night's rugby Test in Melbourne.

Italy's coach Nick Mallett has called for the retractable roof to be left open if it is a fine winter's day in Melbourne as the weather elements are part and parcel of rugby.

But the request was met with raised eyebrows from within the Wallabies camp, especially after the two nations met on a super-skinny field in Padova last November.

Padova's Stade Euganeo was seven metres narrower than a regular-size pitch, frustrating the Wallabies expansive style and plans to unleash their superior backline.

Mallett says the only reason to play with the roof closed is if conditions are so bad the ground will be cut up.