The French government has placed a ban on gatherings of over 5,000 people, casting serious doubt over the France Ireland Six Nations fixture in Paris on March 14th.

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Ireland’s Six Nations match against Italy in Dublin on March 7 has already been postponed and tournament chiefs are attending a pre-scheduled World Rugby summit in Paris on Monday where the remaining five fixtures will be discussed.

England’s trip to Rome on March 14 is the biggest concern due to the escalating crisis in northern Italy.

Earlier this week Ireland head coach Andy Farrell field question on potential disruption from the virus.

“We don’t know. That’s the answer – we don’t know,” Farrell told reporters when asked about the trip to Paris.

“All we can do is prepare properly as if the game is going ahead. We’ve been in for a few days this week and that was the normal preparation that we were going to have anyway.

“We’re going to have a rest this weekend, come back in on Sunday and train Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Then we’ll have a long weekend off. The key for us is to use the time appropriately and to our advantage.”

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Rearranging the Italy game is highly problematic because of the lack of space in the rugby calendar and the Irish Rugby Football Union has yet to suggest an alternative date.

“There’s a few dates being bounced about but they’re just ideas at this point in time, so we haven’t got a clue really,” Farrell said.

France remain unbeaten in the Six Nations, while Ireland have dropped again after tasting defeat to England in Twickenham.

Global cases are estimated to have hit 85,000 as the geographical footprint of the virus widens, while the death toll is approaching 3,000.

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A range of sports have had to take action to prevent the spread of the virus, with postponements hitting the Guinness Six Nations, Formula One and Serie A among others.

With spectacles such as Euro 2020, the Olympics and golf’s majors on the horizon, the PA news agency takes a sport-by-sport look at the impact of coronavirus.

Press Association/additional reporting RugbyPass

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