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EPCR will support any 'preventative measures' in relation to coronavirus

Leinster and Ulster are due to play Champions Cup quarter-finals on the first weekend of April.

EPCR, THE ORGANISING body of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, has indicated that it will fully support any “preventative measures” in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The quarter-finals of the two European tournaments are currently scheduled to take place on the weekend of 3/4/5 April, with Irish provinces Leinster and Ulster involved in the Champions Cup knock-out ties.

While EPCR says it is “currently envisaged” that the fixtures will go ahead as scheduled, a  statement today essentially acknowledges that the matter may be out of the organisation’s hands due to the threat posed to public health by the coronavirus.

will-skelton-and-maro-itoje-with-jonathan-sexton Johnny Sexton's Leinster are due to face Saracens in Dublin on 4 April. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

EPCR underlined that it intends to complete all eight quarter-finals in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup as it continues to monitor the developing situation.

As things stand, Leinster are due to host Saracens at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 4 April, while Ulster are scheduled to take on Toulouse in France the following day.

Clermont host Racing 92 and Northampton travel to Exeter in the other two Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The hope is that those fixtures, and the Challenge Cup ties, will go ahead as planned but EPCR’s statement recognises that events could change over the coming weeks. 

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“It is currently envisaged that the Heineken Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final matches will go ahead as scheduled on the weekend of 3/4/5 April,” reads EPCR’s statement.

“EPCR intends to complete all eight fixtures and will continue to monitor developments while liaising with the relevant league and union bodies, as well as governments and local authorities.

“EPCR is 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.”

Ireland were due to face France in Paris this weekend in round five of the Six Nations but that fixture has been postponed, along with England’s planned visit to Rome to take on Italy.

Ireland had already seen their round four clash with Italy in Dublin last weekend postponed, with both all three postponed Six Nations fixtures now expected to take place in October.

Meanwhile, Irish provinces Ulster, Munster, and Connacht have all seen Guinness Pro14 fixtures against Italian opposition postponed recently.

It remains to be seen just how extensive the disruption to the rugby schedule is in Ireland and aboard in the coming weeks and months as nations attempt to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

With the rugby calendar jam-packed, this is already a challenging time for the organising bodies of competitions as they look at potentially rescheduling fixtures.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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