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Coronavirus: Ulster's European quarter-final in Toulouse in severe doubt as FFR suspend all rugby activities

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Stuart McCloskey tackles Toulouse the last time the sides met at Kingspan Stadium

Stuart McCloskey tackles Toulouse the last time the sides met at Kingspan Stadium

Stuart McCloskey tackles Toulouse the last time the sides met at Kingspan Stadium

Ulster's Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final in Toulouse has been handed another major blow after the French Federation de Rugby (FFR) suspended all rugby in the country.

The governing body announced the suspension on Friday morning, which was then followed by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) confirming that the Top 14 has been suspended.

The double blow only furthers the ever-strengthening belief that the knockout game will be suspended.

The FFR's ruling means that rugby at all amateur and schools levels have been suspended to try and negate the spread of the coronavirus in France.

FFR president Bernard Laporte insisted the decision had been made in the "very high national interest".

"We ask our entire network to scrupulously respect these instructions," said Laporte.

"All championships, of all categories without exception, are suspended, as well as all activities of the Rugby Schools, in order to effectively combat the spread of Covid-19."

Ulster's season has already been suspended, with the Guinness PRO14 suspending the remainder of their season yesterday, while all domestic rugby in Ireland has been suspended until the end of March too.

Should, by some miracle, their game against Toulouse go ahead, it would be Ulster's first game in six weeks having seen their recent game against Benetton postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in northern Italy.

The Top 14 suspension from the LNR forbids any teams from training, meaning Toulouse would also be coming into the game severely short on match fitness.

Belfast Telegraph