Guinness PRO14 chiefs have postponed games involving Munster and Connacht in Italy later this month due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the northern part of the country.
Munster's clash with Benetton (originally scheduled for March 21) while Zebre v Connacht (originally scheduled for March 28) have both been impacted.
The decision come as the Italian government has extended restrictions on sporting events until April 3 and the latest travel alerts from the Irish government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advise against non-essential travel to certain regions of Italy, including Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.
Consequently, PRO14 Rugby has taken this action in order to protect the well-being of our participating clubs' players, other staff and supporters, and provide some degree of certainty in an evolving situation. This decision is fully supported by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC.
This announcement follows the news that England's Six Nations clash with Italy was postponed as well due to the coronavirus.
Tournament organisers faced the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year and have chosen the latter option.
It is the second game of the 2020 Six Nations to be postponed after Ireland’s clash with Italy in Dublin on Saturday was also called off on public health grounds.
#shouldertoshoulder— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 26, 2020
Ireland's @SixNationsRugby matches v Italy are off.
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.https://t.co/80ByyvOd3E