The spread of the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with sport, with Six Nations and Guinness PRO14 competitions once more affected.
Following Monday’s postponement of the France v Ireland Six Nations game in Paris, yesterday saw the Women’s and U20’s matches added to the list of postponements.
The Grand Slam-chasing U20 side to play France at Stade Aime Giral in Perpignan on Friday night while the women’s side were set to play in Lille on Sunday afternoon.
“Discussions with Unions and Federations are ongoing as it is of the utmost importance to find suitable dates for rescheduled matches while respecting the values and integrity of our Championship,” a Six Nations statement read.
Just hours later the PRO14 announced a further four postponements in their championship, with all Round 14 & 15 fixtures involving Italian club sides Benetton and Zebre postponed due to restrictions enforced by the Italian government. Following the postponement of Ulster’s game in Treviso late last month, this will now bring to four the total of games postponed involving Irish provinces.
Munster were to play Benetton home and away in successive weekends (Rounds 14,15) while Zebre were to visit Connacht in Galway in Round 15.
“Six Italian fixtures now require alternative dates as authorities in Italy take action to combat the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus,” said a PRO14 statement.
PRO14 Rugby has been consistent in ensuring that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa. Currently in northern Italy, no unnecessary travel is permitted in or out of the Lombardy region and 14 other provinces, which include the cities of Treviso and Parma.
“These restrictions are in place until Friday, April 3, 2020 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR (Italian Union), Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor situation on a regular basis. To ensure the safety of our players and spectators PRO14 Rugby fully supports the preventative measures taken in Italy and will adhere to the directives from the WHO and local authorities.”
PRO14 aim to reschedule these matches on dates during the European weekends in April and May, but if not alternative dates can be found, organisers have agreed that both teams will be awarded two match points and the game will be deemed a 0-0 draw.
Munster could be without a game until April 11, almost six weeks on from their last league game over Scarlets on February 29.
Should the postponed games not be reschedule, Conference B – with Munster just eight and ten points ahead of Scarlets (3rd) and Connacht (4th) respectively, could become a much closer contest for the playoffs.
Postponed fixtures R13: Zebre v Ospreys ; Benetton v Ulster R14: Cardiff Blues v Zebre ; Benetton v Munster; R15: Munster v Benetton Rugby; Zebre v Connacht.
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