65,000 cheer on Wales from Cardiff stadium

More people are expected at the Millennium Stadium than at the actual match in New Zealand as Welsh fans rally their support
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The Independent Online

Fans have gathered at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to watch Wales's Rugby World Cup semi-final match on giant TV screens - more people than are expected at the actual match in New Zealand.

The Welsh Rugby Union said around 65,000 free tickets have gone to people who want to watch the game in Cardiff. Eden Park, the venue in Auckland where Wales play France, holds only 60,000.

Officials say they have been amazed by demand to watch the game at the home of Welsh rugby.

The match has been billed as one of the biggest in Welsh sporting history, as it is only the second time the national side has reached the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

If Wales manage to overturn France, it will be the first time they have reached the tournament's final. The other semi-final is between Australia and favourites New Zealand.

The excitement has reached fever-pitch across the principality, with rugby clubs and bars stocking up on supplies ready for the game.

Welsh captain Sam Warburton said the players in New Zealand were amazed at the support back home.

He said: "We are delighted with the level of support we keep hearing about from Wales. It is amazing to think the Millennium Stadium will be so crowded for a game we are playing thousands of miles away."

Ahead of the game, many workplaces allowed members of staff to wear Welsh rugby jerseys and the Welsh Assembly changed the flags outside its Ty Hywel offices so only Welsh ones are flying.

Officials at the Millennium Stadium, the home of Welsh rugby, have also been putting final touches to their plans. An additional giant screen is being erected with around 25,000 spectators expected to watch the match on the floor of the stadium and the rest in the seats in the middle and upper levels.