Ireland vs Italy Six Nations game postponed due to coronavirus outbreak

Ireland's clash with Italy in the Six Nations has officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two sides were due to clash in Dublin on March 7 with thousands of Italians expected to travel to the Irish capital for the game.

But the outbreak of the virus in Northern Italy has seen the men's, women's and under-20s games called off, sparking possible chaos regarding the rest of the tournament and the knock-on effects for the title race.

A statement read by Irish rugby chief Philip Browne said: "We had a very positive meeting with Mr Harris and his advisors where we requested an instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March.

"At the meeting we were informed that the National Public Health Emergency Team has determined that the series of matches should not proceed in the interest of public health.

"The IRFU is perfectly happy to comply with this instruction. We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look at the possibility of rescheduling those three matches and would hope to have update on that in the coming days."

In a statement on Tuesday night, Irish health minister Simon Harris made it clear the government did not want the game to go ahead and risk further spread of the virus.

He said: "The very clear view was that this game should not go ahead and it would constitute a significant risk because a large number of people would be travelling from what is now an affected region."

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