French fan Alex Michel and Irish fan Garrett Killeen at loggerheads. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Rumbling on: IRFU not happy with timing of Paris return

The union is ‘disappointed’ that Irish considerations were not heeded in the reorganisation.

THE IRFU HAVE expressed further dismay at the timing of Ireland’s rearranged Six Nations match with France.

On Saturday, the fixture at the Stade de France was postponed at the last minute by referee, Dave Pearson, due to a frozen pitch.

After much speculation and rumour that the game could could, in fact, be moved back as far as September; the tournament organisers yesterday set Sunday 4 March (3pm) as the re-fixed kick off.

This tweak has disgruntled the Irish union who felt that Saturday 3 March was the optimum date.

A statement by the union said:

“The IRFU had proposed to the Six Nations that the preferred alternate date for the game was Saturday, 3 March with an afternoon kick off.

“This was based on providing the Ireland team, who will be travelling for a second time to Paris, with a seven day turnaround between its remaining four fixtures in the tournament as well as providing any supporters wishing to attend the rescheduled game with an appropriate window of travel.”

Speaking on Newstalk last night Six Nations CEO John Feehan accepted Ireland’s grievances, but cited the number of club fixtures taking place on Saturday which could distract from the international test.

“We have to look at rugby as a totality and the tournament as a totality and not just from an Irish perspective,” said Feehan.

“What you have to realise is that the super 14 (sic) had a full schedule of games planned for the Saturday. That would be six games and only one scheduled for the Sunday. You’re talking about literally tens of thousands of people being discommoded on the back of having the game on Saturday.”

Feehan did add that certain concessions were made for the team – their return to Ireland to maximise recovery time would be made more swift by the absence of a post match function.

However, aside from reimbursement for the the cost of tickets, it seems that fans who wish to travel to the game would not see any further accommodations made. Feehan accepted that it is difficult for Irish supporters , but concluded:

“It’s a difficult one to round the circle on and the reality is: the only real option for us was to have the game on a Sunday.”

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