Pro14 suspended indefinitely as Irish domestic rugby also postponed

The moves have been made in a bid to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

THE GUINNESS PRO14 has been suspended indefinitely in the face of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The move has been confirmed by tournament organisers.

Meanwhile, the IRFU has confirmed that all Irish domestic rugby has also been suspended until 29 March, when the situation will be reviewed in line with government advice.

a-general-view-of-the-aviva-stadium Ireland's men's team were due to play at the Aviva Stadium last weekend. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

These moves follow Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier announcing government measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including the cancellation of mass gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

A decision to suspend all rugby in Ireland was made at an IRFU meeting this afternoon.

Pro14 organisers also confirmed that the season has been suspended indefinitely, with its possible resumption to be under constant review.

“We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds,” said Pro14 tournament director David Jordan.

“With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”

A Pro14 statement added that “resumption of the 2019/20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point PRO14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.

“This will remain the case for the duration of the suspension. This is an unprecedented action for the tournament and as such no end date to the suspension can be provided at this time.” 

The IRFU this evening confirmed the suspension of all domestic rugby, including the All-Ireland League and schools rugby finals, until at last 29 March.

“The Irish Rugby Football Union, together with Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Rugby, have announced the suspension of all Domestic Rugby activity from 6pm this evening 12th March until the 29th March (inclusive), in response to the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” reads a statement.

“Future Domestic Rugby activity will be reviewed in line with Government advice.

“All Rugby activities across Clubs and Schools, from minis to adult rugby, must now cease.

“While Rugby Clubs may wish to continue to operate facilities such as bars and function rooms, they must observe Government restrictions in relation to the number of people that may attend indoor (no more than 100 people) and outdoor (no more than 500 people) events.

“We will work with clubs and schools to rearrange fixtures, such as the Schools Cup finals.

“Updates [on the professional game], when available, in relation to the professional game will come from tournament organisers.” 

The new measures follow the postponement of international games for the Ireland men’s team, Ireland women’s team, and Ireland U20s in recent weeks.

All three Ireland teams were due to face Italy on home soil in the Six Nations last weekend but those fixtures were postponed.

Similarly, all three Ireland sides were scheduled to play in France this weekend in the final round of the Six Nations but, again, those games were postponed.

Six Nations organisers have insisted that they will complete the men’s, women’s, and U20 Six Nations at a later stage. 

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