No new date has been announced for Ireland’s postponed Six Nations game against Italy but tournament organisers have declared a commitment to play all 15 of this year’s fixtures after a meeting of officials in Paris yesterday.
Andy Farrell’s squad, as well as their female and U20s counterparts, were due to meet their respective Azzurri selections this coming weekend only for the contests to be put on ice because of the ongoing situation with the coronavirus.
It is highly unlikely that the Ireland-Italy game will happen before October for a number of reasons that include the packed rugby calendar.
Italy’s meeting with England in Rome on March 14 was also deemed to be in danger given the deteriorating situation in the north of the country where the number of cases doubled in the space of just 48 hours in recent days.
However, the Six Nations have announced that the game at the Stadio Olimpico is to go ahead as planned but that the Women’s and U20s fixtures may have to be moved to alternative locations.
Tournament organisers reaffirmed that they will “strictly” follow any government decrees on the matter.
“As it stands today, based on the latest information, all Six Nations matches currently scheduled are set to go ahead,” said a statement after discussions held in the French capital where a World Rugby forum had already been scheduled.
“Six Nations is in contact with FIR [Italian union] and RFU [English union] regarding the possibility of relocating the Women’s and U20 Italy vs England matches to another Italian location and we will make a further announcement on this in due course.
“However, the Italy vs England Senior Men’s match in Rome is planned to go ahead as scheduled.
“Six Nations intends to complete all 15 games across all three championships when time allows but we will refrain from making any rescheduling announcements for the time being while we keep assessing the situation.”
Numerous Serie A football games have already been postponed in Italy while neighbours Switzerland have called a full halt to its professional leagues for now. In all, over a dozen different sports have had events postponed or cancelled across the same number of countries.
Most of these have been in Asia.