French Rugby expect Ireland match to go ahead

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Concern over the spread of the coronavirus has not forced the cancellation of Ireland’s Six Nations’ trip to Paris next weekend.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) tonight confirmed that the game is set to go ahead, despite France having the second-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Europe, after Italy.

423 confirmed cases were reported by the French Health Ministry along with seven deaths.

In a statement, FFR said that: “Gatherings organised in open-air venues such as sporting events played in large stadiums like the France v Ireland fixtures on 13, 14 and 15 March will go ahead as long as it does not lead to the mixing of populations from areas where the Covid-19 virus is circulating.”

In response to the high number of cases being confirmed, French President Emmanuel Macron warned: “We’ll be moving into a new phase in the next few days.”

“We are still in phase two, trying to slow down the Covid-19 epidemic.

We will undoubtedly pass in the next few days into a new phase, when the virus will be more widespread across all regions.

A number of French sporting events have already been affected by the spread of the virus.

The Paris Marathon, which would have seen 65,000 runners on the French capital’s streets on April 5, is the latest likely victim.

Meanwhile, England’s Six Nations tie with Italy in Rome on March 14 was postponed this week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tournament organisers faced the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year and have chosen the latter option.