sport news Wales eager to transform Parc y Scarlets into their home against Scotland in ...

From fake fan-tracks to pre-recorded hymns and sanitation stations, the new world has drastically altered match days in Wales.

On Saturday, for the first time in 17 years, the men will play outside Cardiff with no fans – even poor old Shenklin the goat who parades before games has to stay at his barracks – no hywl or haranguing drinkers in sight.

With the country in a 'circuit-breaker' lockdown and the Principality Stadium standing by as a Nightingale hospital still, it is out to west Wales to Llanelli and their new normal.

Wales host Scotland in their final game of their Six Nations campaign on Saturday afternoon

Wales host Scotland in their final game of their Six Nations campaign on Saturday afternoon

Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli will play host to Wales' final Six Nations encounter on the weekend

Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli will play host to Wales' final Six Nations encounter on the weekend

WALES' LAST 12 GAMES OUTSIDE CARDIFF 

Aug 27, 2003 – v Romania (W 54-8) Racecourse, Wrexham

Nov 1, 2002 – v Romania (W 40-3) Racecourse Wrexham

Apr 11, 1999 – v England (W 32-31) Wembley

Feb 20, 1999 – v Ireland (L 29-23) Wembley

Nov 14, 1998 – v S Africa (L 28-20) Wembley

Apr 5, 1998 – v France (L 51-0) Wembley

Mar 7, 1998 – v Scotland (W 19-13) Wembley

Nov 29, 1997 – v N Zealand (L 42-7) Wembley

Nov 21, 1998 – v Argentina (W 43-30) Stradey Park, Llanelli

Feb 7, 1998 – v (W 23-20) Stradey Park, Llanelli

Nov 16, 1997 – v Tonga (W 46-12) St Helen’s, Swansea

Aug 30, 1997 – v Romania (W 70-21) Racecourse, Wrexham 

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It will be eerie and quiet not rocking and raging like under the roof in the capital. Attendance, officially zero; not a daffodil hat in the place for Scotland's visit – perhaps the only positive.

For Wales, the team who perhaps rely on their supporters to drag them to results more than any other in the rugby world, there is no place like home.

But through artificial means and colour schemes they hope to re-create all that they will miss.

Alex Luff, the Principality Stadium operations manager, has helped staged Anthony Joshua fights, Take That concerts, the 2017 Champions League final and more than 100 Wales Tests in Cardiff but his task to transform Parc y Scarlets firstly into a Covid-safe arena and secondly one fit for an international has been his tallest order.

'The Champions League Final in 2017 (where beat Juventus 4-1) was a three-year project for one match,' he explains talking exclusively to Sportsmail.

'We've had to condense that work into a month-and-a-half.'

As the national stadium is now Dragon's Heart Hospital, taking patients at the start of the pandemic in the spring as the second-largest facility of its type in the UK, Wales had to play away from their ground for the first time in 108 Tests.

The WRU considered Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, West Ham's London Stadium and even Twickenham for home matches if fans were allowed in London.

But none allowed and Scarlets was chosen for all four of their home autumn fixtures, starting with Scotland in the Six Nations this weekend.

The last time a men's Test was played there was in 1998 – at the old Stradey Park against Argentina – Saturday will be world's apart in many ways.

'We've got to try and transform Parc y Scarlets into our home,' adds Luff.

'We want the team to feel as if they're coming into familiar surroundings – a lot of them do play there for their region,

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