Ireland v Italy in the Six Nations has been officially postponed due to the spread of coronavirus, the IRFU has confirmed.
The clash of Ireland v Italy had been due to take place on Saturday, March 7 but the IRFU has now agreed to the postponement after initially seeking clarification from the government.
Philip Browne, the chief executive of Irish rugby's governing body held a meeting with Health Minister Simon Harris this afternoon following comments from Harris last night that he would recommend the postponement of Ireland's fourth match in this year's Six Nations.
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
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 26, 2020
Italy today confirmed its 12th death resulting from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In a statement, the IRFU gave the following update:
'The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisors today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March.
'At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the Governments’ need to protect public health in relation to the Coronavirus.
'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.'