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October finish would work, says Farrell



Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell

�INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Andy Farrell

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has welcomed the idea of finishing the Guinness Six Nations in October.

Yesterday saw the side's trip to Paris this weekend for a crunch clash with France postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, following on from last week's hosting of Italy in Dublin being called off.

Ireland, who know that two bonus-point wins in those two games once they are rescheduled would deliver the title, heard the news only when coming off the training pitch yesterday morning.

"You can't do anything but the right thing," said Farrell.

"The reaction of the players when we've come off the back of a good day's work was one of deflation. Gutted."

Ireland play Australia, South Africa and Japan in November, but could conceivably arrange for their two outstanding Six Nations fixtures to be played on the final two Saturdays of October.

"We've got a window for that," he added.

"Some teams schedule four in there for November but we've scheduled three.

"We've got a window there so we're very open to that."

At present, there is no indication of whether rugby in France will follow football's lead and play fixtures behind closed doors. With no Top 14 fixtures scheduled this week, Ulster are due to travel to Toulouse on April 5 for their Heineken European Champions Cup quarter-final.

The EPCR yesterday released a statement saying they are "fully supportive of any preventative measures that might be required in the interests of overall public health in relation to Covid-19 and will respect instructions provided by authorities", although stressed that at present it is "currently envisaged" the games will go ahead as planned.

Belfast Telegraph