Ireland v Italy ‘should not go ahead’ due to coronavirus

The Republic of Ireland’s health minister says Ireland v Italy in the Six Nations should be postponed due to coronavirus.

The game is scheduled to take place in Dublin on 7 March, however health authorities met on Tuesday and recommended that it should not take place.

"The very clear view of the public health emergency team was that this game should not go ahead and that it would constitute a significant risk, because a very large number of people will be travelling from what is now an affected region,”Simon Harris told RTÉ.

"So my department will be contacting the Irish Rugby Football Union in relation to this.

"I know (it will) cause a great disappointment to many, but it is important to make decisions in relation to public health above and beyond all other considerations."

In a statement, the IRFU said it is "seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Harris as to the specific reasoning behind calling for the cancellation of the Ireland v Italy Six Nations fixture in the context of the government’s overall travel policy to and from Italy and other affected countries".

It went on: "Until such time as the IRFU has had contact with the minister and gets an understanding of the government’s strategic policy on travel to and from Ireland and the cancellation of mass gatherings, it is not in a position to comment further."