Rugby Union

Coronavirus: Italy v England Six Nations match postponed

Italy's match against England has been postponed over fears concerning the spread of coronavirus 

Italy's Six Nations game against England on March 14 in Rome has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tournament organisers faced the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year and have chosen the latter option.

Official confirmation of the decision is expected from Six Nations later today.

Shaping the decision is the Italian Rugby Federation's desire to retain the revenue generated by a lucrative home clash with Eddie Jones' title hopefuls.

By staging the game behind closed doors, the cash-strapped union would have missed out on gate receipts for a 73,000 sell-out.

It is the second game of the 2020 Six Nations to be postponed after Ireland's clash with Italy in Dublin on Saturday was also called off on public health grounds.

The decision comes after an Italian government decree issued on Wednesday night said Serie A matches would not be open to the public until April 3 in an attempt to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Italy is the European country most affected by the coronavirus with in excess of 3,000 people infected - a number that includes over 100 deaths. Eleven towns in northern Italy are in lockdown.

Six Nations organisers are being guided by government directives in deciding the fate of games and, in light of the decree, activated their contingency plan to find a new date for games affected by the virus.

As yet there is no indication whether the surviving four games of the competition are under threat.

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