Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Italy to go ahead after government exemption
Ireland’s postponed Six Nations rugby union match against Italy this weekend has been given clearance by the Irish government to go ahead despite a tightening of the country’s coronavirus restrictions.
The annual national teams competition was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is set to resume with Ireland's home game against Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this Saturday.
There were fresh doubts over the fixture yesterday after the Irish government announced it was placing the country into a six-week lockdown starting from today, and aimed at reducing Covid-19 cases.
However, the government has exempted elite sport from the rules, enabling the Ireland-Italy game to go ahead.
The exemption also means Ireland’s home games in the Autumn Nations Cup, the eight-team competition organised to replace the cancelled autumn internationals, in November and December can take place.
Ireland are scheduled to host Wales in their opening game of the competition at the Aviva Stadium on 13 November.
The venue is also due to stage the Ireland soccer team's Nations League match against Bulgaria on 18 November.
The last round of the Six Nations, involving all six teams, is due to take place on 31 October. Wales will face Scotland at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli, Italy will host England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and France will play Ireland at the Stade de France in Paris.
Wales, which will also go into a fire-break lockdown starting on Friday, has also confirmed that elite professional sports can continue, ensuring the match against Scotland can be played.