Six Nations clash between France and Ireland joins England vs Italy in being AXED due to coronavirus outbreak – The Sun
FRANCE VS IRELAND has joined England's game with Italy on the Six Nations coronavirus scrapheap, with reports claiming the crucial deciding matches will be POSTPONED until October.
Following telephone calls between the various federations this morning French sports officials confirmed the decision to axe the game in Paris.
England's match with Italy had already been postponed over coronavirus fears.
It is believed that both matches will instead take place in nearly eight months time, with the provisional date of October 31 set.
The fate of Wales vs Scotland, the only other game on the final weekend, is unclear.
Initially reports in France claimed that it had also been postponed, however ITV Sport's Beth Fisher insists that is not the case and as it stands the clash in Cardiff will go ahead.
Tournament plans are now in chaos, with the title still very much up for grabs, with Scotland having done the Auld Enemy England a huge favour by beating France at Murrayfield on Sunday.
The 28-17 defeat cost Les Bleus their hopes of completing the Grand Slam… and has piled pressure on them to beat Ireland when they eventually play them at the Stade de France.
England have the comparatively easy task of facing Italy in Rome – with Eddie Jones' side having the chance to swoop in and win the tournament… despite having lost to France on Matchday One.
But both sides may have to stew on it for months, while potential injuries in the meantime could derail either side's hopes.
Postponed Six Nations matches
Saturday 7 March: Ireland vs Italy, Aviva Stadium
Saturday 14 March: Italy vs England, Stadio Olimpico
Sunday 14 March: France vs Ireland, Stade de France
Italy has so far been the European country worst-affected by coronavirus – with 7,375 cases and 366 deaths to date.
And the Foreign Office has advised against "all but essential travel" to the worst-hit regions of the country after it locked down 16 million people amid virus panic.
Coronavirus is also spreading around France, with 1,209 cases and 19 deaths so far logged.
The Six Nations is one of many sporting events to have been derailed by the coronavirus outbreak, with the ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells this morning being cancelled due to safety fears.
An official statement from the big tennis tournament said: "The Riverside Country Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus [COVID-19] locally.
“As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event.
“This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centres for Disease Control [CDC] and the State of California.”
It was also this morning confirmed that the Champions League round of 16 second leg between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund, just ten miles from French rugby's Stade de France home, will be played behind closed doors on Wednesday night.
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