England's Six Nations game in Italy called off due to coronavirus - reports


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Launch - Tobacco Dock, London, Britain - January 22, 2020 Charles Ollivon of France, Scotland's Stuart Hogg, England's Owen Farrell, Alun Wyn Jones of Wales, Italy's Luca Bigi and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton pose with the Six Nations trophy Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

(Reuters) - England's Six Nations game against Italy in Rome next week has been postponed by tournament organisers due to the coronavirus outbreak, multiple reports in the British media said on Thursday.

The March 14 clash was set to take place behind closed doors after the Italian government ordered all sporting events be held without fans to in a bid to curb Europe's worst outbreak of the virus that has resulted in over 3,000 cases and killed 107 in Italy.

Six Nations organisers had already postponed Saturday's match between Ireland and Italy.

Broadcaster ITV is reported to have decided not to send a commentary team to Rome even if the game goes ahead with coverage to be based in London instead.

Former England coach Clive Woodward said organisers had to look at the bigger picture and call off the tournament after this weekend's action.

"There are some things much more important than sport and when something like the coronavirus comes along, rugby has to step into line, take advice from the experts and do what is right," Woodward wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.

"Sport has to be flexible and change its plans and, in my opinion, the sooner the better to minimise the disruption for everybody. There is a far bigger picture."

A number of international sporting events have been hit by the flu-like virus that has killed over 3,200 people globally and infected more than 94,000 after originating in China late last year.

Woodward, who guided England to World Cup glory in 2003, said that he expected sport in Britain to be in "lockdown" by the end of the month.

"As for the Six Nations, I would suggest this will be the final weekend. I don't see how any of the games next weekend can, in good faith, be allowed to take place," he said.

"Unless I'm mistaken the situation is going to get worse before it gets better and although we have escaped relatively unscathed in the U.K. so far, we have to prepare for the worst."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Rugby

Rugby: Wales 'target' people, England must be ready - defence coach
Willis, Watson back in the England frame to face Wales
Former France and Stade Francais winger Dominici dies
World Cup hosts to be decided by open vote as World Rugby approves changes
Wales lose Moriarty but duo back in training ahead of England
Rugby: Son of former Australia captain Lynagh signs with Reds
Umaga hopeful for Pasifika team as squad named for match
England likely to face France after final round of Nations Cup
Rugby League-Manly forward Titmuss dies aged 20
France find consistency under new coach Galthie

Stories You'll Enjoy