Two more Guinness PRO14 fixtures due to take place in Italy have fallen foul of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the northern part of the country.

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A pair of round 13 fixtures – Zebre vs Ospreys and Benetton vs Ulster – were postponed last weekend and that number has now increased to four following the decision to postpone the March 21 round 14 Benetton-Munster match and the March 28 round 15 Zebre-Connacht game.

It follows the move by the Italian government to extend restrictions on sporting events until April 3. Latest travel alerts from the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are also advising against non-essential travel to certain regions of Italy, including Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

That left PRO14 Rugby opting to protect the well-being of its participating clubs’ players, other staff and supporters by providing some degree of certainty in what remains an evolving situation. 

A statement read: “This decision is fully supported by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC. As none of these clubs are involved in EPCR competitions, PRO14 Rugby will aim to reschedule these matches on dates during the European weekends in April and May. 

(Continue reading below…)

England vs Italy postponed

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“PRO14 Rugby is currently engaged with EPCR to avoid any scheduling conflicts with European knock-out games. Discussions are still on-going regarding the rescheduling of the postponed round 13 fixtures.

“As indicated on February, PRO14 Rugby have activated a live channel of communication with each of the chief medical officers for each participating union who are providing the latest information, advice and requirements from national governments and health authorities in their respective territories.”

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