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Ireland's Six Nations fixture against France in serious doubt as government announce ban on public gatherings

The French government held an exceptional cabinet meeting on Saturday as they seek to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Ireland are due to place France at the Stade de France.
Ireland are due to place France at the Stade de France.
Image: David Davies

IRELAND’S SIX NATIONS meeting with France in Paris is in serious doubt after the French government announced a ban on public gatherings of over 5,000 people in a “confined space” in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

An exceptional cabinet meeting was held on Saturday where a series of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus were announced.  

The French government have ordered the cancellation of “gatherings of more than 5,000 people” in enclosed areas as well as some external events until further notice.

A number of sporting events have been affected as a result.

The Paris half-marathon, scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled, while two horse racing meetings at Compiegne next week will take place behind closed doors.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the cancellations of external events would affect gatherings in open areas where there would be “intermingling with populations from areas affected by the virus”.

This weekend’s programme of French Ligue 1 football matches is unaffected and will go ahead as planned.

The weekend games are not taking place in areas of France most affected by the virus, the Oise region north of Paris and La Balme-de-Sillingy village in the southeastern Haute-Savoie region.

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The move raises fresh doubt on Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with France, a game which could decide the destination of the title.

Andy Farrell’s team are due to take on Les Bleus at the Stade de France on Saturday 14 March.

Ireland’s home game against Italy, originally scheduled for 7 March, was postponed earlier this week.

The postponement of fixtures has presented tournament organisers with a headache in terms of completing the tournament, with a busy global calendar leaving little room for maneuver in terms of rescheduling games. 

Veran said there were 16 new cases of coronavirus in France, taking to 73 the number of people affected since the end of January. Two people have died, a 60-year-old French teacher and an 80-year-old Chinese tourist.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to figure out where we go from here — not only post-Twickenham, but potentially into September as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the rugby calendar. The lads also discuss the media’s treatment of the Irish team which some fans and players believe is too harsh, but some non-rugby journalists believe to be too soft.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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