Ulster v Benetton set to be played this weekend is postponed following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Zebre’s game with Ospreys is also postponed as Italian authorities try to battle with the outbreak.
RTE Sport report that their is also restrictions on public gatherings and sporting events. These are the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto. The women’s Six Nations meeting between Scotland and Italy was postponed as were four Seria A League games. Pro 14 rugby said they will remain in contact with Italian rugby authorities. They said on their website, “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 World Health Organisation (WHO) and local authorities,”.They stated that the current restrictions will remain in place till March 1st.
The Ireland v Italy game is also under threat. Six Nations released a statement saying that everything’s been monitored closely and they are in constant contact with FIR and all other rugby unions. Simon Harris Minister for Health also expressed his concern about the virus and what it could to do some events. Speaking to RTE News he said “The rugby game is something that needs considerable consideration”. “There will be some big decisions that have to be made in the coming days including mass gatherings.
As of now the IRFU have stated that the games will go ahead as planned. However, the union said it will follow government advice on the matter. It wouldn’t be the first time a Six Nations game was called off though. In 2001 Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with England was postponed due to the outbreak of foot and mouth. The game was eventually played the following October.