The PRO14 have issued a statement setting out their stall on the Coronavirus outbreak in Europe and how they will proceed regarding the possibility of fixtures being affected.

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In the Six Nations, the March 7 Ireland-Italy Aviva Stadium match was called off last Wednesday due to the threat of the spread of the coronavirus, and more postponements are possible particularly as England are due to travel to Rome to face the Italians on March 14.

With the virus spiking in Italy, Italian rugby authorities have cancelled all Guinness PRO14, national championship and youth games in their country this weekend.

The statement reads:

“In response to the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, PRO14 Rugby has initiated a number of measures to meet the challenge this poses to Guinness PRO14 fixtures.

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“Since last weekend, detailed scenario-planning has been on-going and it is paramount that the well-being and health of teams, their supporters, staff and match officials are not compromised.

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“To date, no country has implemented a travel ban, however, restrictions put in place around mass gatherings in Italy have caused the postponement of two Guinness PRO14 fixtures scheduled to take place this weekend.

“The Chief Medical Officers from each of the Guinness PRO14’s participating unions – the FIR, IRFU, SARU, SRU & WRU – will provide tournament organisers with regular updates from their relevant health and government authorities.

“This includes (but is not limited to) Situation Reports released by their governments or health authorities, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in their country and any travel restrictions to and from that country.

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“Should the situation change PRO14 Rugby will fully abide by any instruction or restriction from the medical authorities/governments of each of our territories.

“Currently, matches will take place as scheduled unless otherwise directed by local or national authorities or governments.

“PRO14 Rugby will remain in frequent contact with the CMOs of our participating unions to remain fully informed of the conditions in each territory.

“Beyond the two postponements this weekend, all scheduled Guinness PRO14 fixtures are set to go ahead – including the refixed Round 11 game between Dragons and Benetton Rugby on March 6.

“A process has already begun to find alternative dates for this weekend’s postponed fixtures involving Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys and Benetton Rugby v Ulster Rugby.

“In the event that any future games are postponed and no alternative dates can be found to ensure the fixture is fulfilled, the board of Celtic Rugby DAC has agreed that both teams will be awarded two match points and the game will be deemed a 0-0 draw.

“This stands in line with current World Rugby practice and resembles protocols in other rugby codes and international sports.”

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