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Confirmed: Ireland's clash with France postponed over coronavirus fears as Six Nations set for October finish

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Ireland coach Andy Farrell

Ireland coach Andy Farrell

PA

Ireland coach Andy Farrell

Ireland's Six Nations match in France this weekend is the latest championship game to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two sides had been due to meet in Paris on Saturday evening but the French Minister of Youth and Sport, Roxana Maracineanu, confirmed that the game has been delayed following the government's ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people - albeit with certain exemptions - on Sunday night.

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With England's game against Italy already on ice, it had been rumoured that the tournament organisers could consider also postponing Scotland's trip to Wales this weekend in an attempt to recreate 'super Saturday' in the autumn.

However, the Six Nations announced at lunchtime on Monday that the one remaining fixture for this weekend would proceed as planned at the Principality Stadium.

While it has now been reported that the tournament could be due to finish on October 31, with Ireland's home game against the Italians played a week before, the statement said that no announcement will be made on new dates until discussions take place with 'all relevant stakeholders' and the 'evolution' of the coronavirus situation is assessed.

Any autumn scheduling would see more of Ulster's PRO14 fixtures played with weakened squads.

Ireland's next match will now take place against Australia in Brisbane on July 4. They also face South Africa, Japan and Australia in three consecutive fixtures beginning on the weekend of November 7/8 in what is looking like an increasingly busy autumn.

It remains to be seen if Ireland Under 20s and women's internationals will also be called off and postponed in line with the men's games, but the women's team are playing in a World Cup qualifying tournament in September and most of the U20s will have graduated from the grade after their World Cup this summer and may be required for provincial duty.

Belfast Telegraph