Six Nations ‘closely monitoring’ coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Italy’s coronavirus outbreak is being monitored “very closely” by Six Nations organisers amid concerns over the country’s upcoming men’s, women’s and U20s fixtures.

Italy are due to travel to Dublin for their penultimate game of the men’s tournament on March 7 before England arrive in Rome for the tournament finale seven days later.

Towns in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, which are hundreds of miles north of the capital, have been on lockdown as Italy became the country with the largest number of cases in Europe over the weekend.

According to Press Association, the women’s and U20s Six Nations games are the most under threat due to their venues being in the Veneto towns of Verona and Padua.

PA report that the Italy-England men’s clash a day earlier on March 14 is being viewed as a secondary concern – but Ireland’s minister for health Simon Harris has voiced worries over the Italy team and supporters travelling to Dublin next weekend.

After two Pro14 matches, including Ulster’s clash with Treviso, were called-off, Harris was quoted in various newspapers including the Guardian stating: “The rugby game is something that needs considerable consideration. The situation is evolving.

“The weekend’s activities have shown there is still an awful lot unknown about the coronavirus and about the path it might take. There will be some big decisions in the coming days. Most particularly, I’m thinking of the Ireland-Italy game.”

A Six Nations statement on Monday night said: “Six Nations is monitoring this situation very closely and is in regular contact with the Italian Rugby Federation and all other unions as well as the relevant local authorities and health organisations.”

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