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No restrictions on Ireland's visit to Durban to face China: Dancer

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Coach Sean Dancer

Coach Sean Dancer

Coach Sean Dancer

The Ireland women's hockey team are to play China nine times in the next seven weeks but there are no major concerns over the coronavirus which originated in that part of the world.

Sean Dancer's squad travel to Durban later this month for a warm-weather training camp which will include five games against the Chinese as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics gathers pace.

Then, during Easter week, China will travel to Belfast for a further four games at The Dub.

While many sporting events have been cancelled or ordered behind closed doors, there are no concerns at present that the matches might be called off.

The Chinese hockey team left their native country before the disease gained a foothold there and relocated to Durban, along with their Japanese counterparts, who will play Ireland twice in South Africa.

It's understood the Asian players and backroom staff have all been tested for coronavirus and have been given the all-clear.

Hockey Ireland are in constant contact with the authorities in the Republic and have been informed that there is no reason for any of the games to be cancelled.

Ireland head coach Dancer said: "We have been following all the medical advice we get from Sport Ireland and from the Irish government. At the moment we don't have any restrictions on what we can do over the next few weeks which is really good."

Ireland captain Katie Mullan is looking forward to the trip to South Africa and the Olympics, which she remains confident will go ahead.

The Coleraine woman said: "I think there is time for the virus to be under control before the Olympics. The trip to Durban has been arranged for some time and we are confident we will be able to go and play quality games."

Belfast Telegraph