The Ireland versus Italy game and all Six Nations games between the two nations on the weekend of March 6th through 8th have been officially called off.
The IRFU have said that they are complying with the direction of the Irish Department of Health on the matter.
A statement from the union reads:
“The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisors today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March.
“At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the Governments’ need to protect public health in relation to the Coronavirus.
“We were then advised, formally, that The National Public Health Emergency team has determined that the series of matches should not proceed, in the interests of Public Health.
“The IRFU is happy to comply with this instruction.
“We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look at the possibility of rescheduling the matches and would hope to have an update on this in the coming days.”
Yesterday Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris gave an interview with the national broadcaster that has in effect kiboshed the fixture on March 7th, saying it would pose a significant risk because of the number of fans that would be travelling from Italy.
There have been 11 deaths in Northern Italy as a result of the respiratory virus.
The news comes after a multitude of sporting matches in Asia and Europe have been interfered with as a result of the spread of coronavirus.
The Japan Rugby Football Union said Wednesday it will postpone a total of 16 games across two rounds of the 2020 Top League season due to the growing alarm over the spiralling coronavirus crisis.
Additionally, Global Rapid Rugby have relocated matches in China to New Zealand and possibly Australia, concerns have been raised about Six Nations clashes involving Italy and World Sevens Series in Singapore and Hong Kong will be now held in October rather than April.
As it stands, 850 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Japan which has led to four deaths, prompting serious concerns for given Tokyo will host the Olympic Games later this year.
Across the globe, there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases with 2600 confirmed dead.