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The IRFU has postponed next month's Ireland v Italy Six Nations match

It had been due to take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week, 7 March.

Image: PA

Updated Feb 26th 2020, 5:15 PM

THE IRFU HAS agreed to postpone next month’s scheduled Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy.  

It had been due to take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week, 7 March. 

Two other games, under 20s Ireland vs Italy game scheduled for 6 March and the women’s Ireland vs Italy game scheduled for 8 March, have also been postponed. 

Following today’s announcement, the IRFU said it is working with the Six Nations to try to reschedule all three fixtures. 

Ticket holders are being asked to retain their tickets for now. The IRFU will be providing ticket holders with tickets for the rescheduled games or a refund, if they wish to receive one.

The IRFU’s announcement follows an announcement from Health Minister Simon Harris last night that the government would recommend postponing the match due to the spread of the coronavirus. 

The news comes as Italy confirms its 12th death from outbreak today. South Korea has recorded 1,261 cases so far, the most of anywhere outside of China. 

Harris said earlier today that the ultimate decision on whether to proceed with the match rested with the IRFU.

He held a meeting with Philip Browne, the IRFU chief executive, this afternoon. 

The IRFU has issued a statement following the meeting. 

“The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisors today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March,” the IRFU said. 

“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,” it said. 

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.” 

Speaking after the meeting, Harris said: “It gave me an opportunity to outline, along with the Chief Medical Officer, the determination made by the National Public Emergency Team yesterday.

“A number of decisions were made by our health experts in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 and ensure that Ireland plays its role in that regard.

“One of those decisions related to mass gatherings and obviously there was a particular issue in relation to a series of rugby games due to take place on the weekend of the 6th, 7th and 8th of March.

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“It was good to have an opportunity to outline the rationale behind that to the IRFU and I very much appreciate the importance that they too attach to public health, and they were understanding in that regard.”

Irish Rail is offering full refunds to customers who booked rail travel online to and from Dublin for the match on 7 March. Refund applications, including book references, can be submitted here

With reporting by Daragh Brophy

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