Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

'No repeat' of French farce

John Feehan

Six Nations Rugby Ltd promised the shambolic postponement of Ireland's match against France last Saturday will never be repeated.

The fixture has been rearranged for Sunday March 4 at the Stade de France with a kick-off time of 1500GMT, while full refunds will be issued to Irish and French ticket holders unable to make the new date.

Six Nations Rugby Ltd chief executvie John Feehan said: ""It has happened and we've got to look at how it happened and make sure it doesn't reoccur. We're going to have to revisit our procedures for calling a game off."

However, the scheduling was condemned by the Irish Rugby Football Union who are angry at being given a six-day turnaround immediately after their second trip to Paris of the championship.

Both teams must now prepare for four games in four weeks, though France are better placed to cope with that workload given their greater playing resources.

Once again the Six Nations, whose council met on Tuesday to finalise a new date, stopped short of issuing a full apology for the farcical scenes witnessed at the Stade de France.

"We very much regret what has happened. This is not something anybody would have planned for or would have wished to happen," Feehan added.

"It's deeply disturbing. It's terrible that it happened. It's very frustrating for the fans and we very much feel for everyone who was affected, Irish and French."

The game was aborted 10 minutes before kick-off after referee Dave Pearson deemed the Stade de France pitch to be dangerous following days of sub-zero temperatures in Paris.

The conditions for the night of the game were known all week, yet Feehan stated that the French Rugby Federation were convinced the game would go ahead at a ground that lacked undersoil heating.