This comes as a result of the Irish Health Minister Simon Harris, saying the game must be postponed to prevent a breakout in Dublin. This is due to Italy being the worst affected nation in Europe, with eleven towns in lockdown as well as many Italian sporting fixtures such as Serie A matches being cancelled. The following day Harris met with the IRFU and came to the official decision to postpone the games.
The IRFU have said in a statement that they are “working with the Six Nations to try reschedule all the fixtures”. There is speculation as to when these fixtures will be played and if they will be played at all, with no confirmed date set as of yet. Many pundits and fans are pointing to the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease that led to some of the Six Nations fixtures being held in September and October. However, almost two decades on the game is much more professional with much greater concerns over player welfare.
This raises doubt, with the ever more congested fixture list, over the viability of moving these fixtures to the autumn. With the Irish fixtures postponed there will be doubts over England’s trip to Rome the following week. With UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston now in talks with the major sporting bodies. The potential ramifications of the postponing of fixtures will hurt the rugby nations financially as well as threatening to ruin a tournament which could see France’s first Grand Slam win in a decade ruined.