Ireland – It has been announced today, with confirmation from the Irish Rugby Football Union [IRFU]; the governing body for the sport of Rugby Union on the island of Ireland, that the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy that was supposed to take place on 7th March 2020 has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Under 20 rugby and Women’s rugby matches between Ireland and Italy have also been postponed.
The announcement was made following a meeting between chief executive Phillip Browne and health minister Simon Harris.
A statement on the news read:
“At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the government’s need to protect public health in relation to the Coronavirus. We were then advised, formally, that The National Public Health Emergency team has determined that the series of matches should not proceed, in the interests of Public Health. The IRFU is happy to comply with this instruction. We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look at the possibility of rescheduling the matches and would hope to have an update on this in the coming days.”
The announcement comes a day after health minister Simon Harris voiced his concerns over the Italy rugby team and its fans who would be travelling to Ireland for the match, following the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy.
“The government are here to lead the country in relation to public health decisions. I think it’s somewhat unfair to be asking the IRFU to make decisions like this.”
Six Nations tournament organisers respected the decision and shared sentiments on the important of public safety in such times:
“We are fully supportive of any preventative measures taken in the interests of overall Public Health in relation to the Coronavirus and we will respect instructions provided by Government authorities and health organisations. Six Nations also continues to liaise with its medical advisory group. We will be holding further discussions with all six unions with respect to the rescheduling options for all the affected games, factoring in the current dynamic situation. All other matches are currently scheduled to go ahead as normal. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely with all Unions and the respective Government authorities and health organisations.”
Ireland are currently third favourite at odds of 12/1 to win this year’s tournament.
On the same date that Ireland were scheduled to play Italy, England and Wales clash in the other Six Nations match of the day.
England are second favourite at odds of 2/1 to be crowned this year’s Six Nations champions.
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