But Wales v Scotland due to go ahead as planned
France v Ireland match postponed due to coronavirus
The women’s and U20 matches have also been postponed after the French government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to contain the coronavirus.
The three Italy v England matches on the final round had already been postponed after the Italian government decreed that all sport in the country must be played behind closed doors until 3 April to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.
However, as it stands the Wales v Scotland men’s and U20 fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend. The women’s fixture has been postponed given that a Scotland player tested positive for Covid-19 last Friday and several other players are now self-isolating on medical advice.
A Six Nations statement read: “Following instructions received from the authorities in France, the decision has been made to postpone the Round 5 Guinness Six Nations match between France and Ireland.
“The Wales v Scotland Guinness Six Nations and U20s Six Nations matches will be going ahead as scheduled. The fixture between Wales Women and Scotland Women is also postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for Covid-19 and a further seven members of the Scotland camp (players and management) are self-isolating.”
This news follows the postponement of all Ireland v Italy matches that were due to take place over the weekend just gone while Scotland Women have had an additional two fixtures postponed because of the coronavirus – away in Italy and at home against France.
It is being widely reported that the Italy v England and Ireland v France men’s matches will be played on 31 October before the start of the autumn Internationals, while Ireland v Italy may take place a week earlier.
It is those matches that will determine the winners of this year’s Six Nations as four teams can still mathematically lift the title – England, France, Ireland and Scotland.
England are favourites to win another Women’s Six Nations title, but the added complication with rescheduling the women’s fixtures is that Ireland, Italy and Scotland are involved in the European qualifying tournament for the 2021 World Cup in September.
As for U20 matches – a tournament where Ireland are chasing back-to-back Grand Slams – an interesting issue thrown up is that some players may be too old to be eligible for the team come the autumn.
The April issue of Rugby World magazine – focusing on a new generation of Six Nations stars – is out now.
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