England’s Six Nations game against Italy on 14 March in Rome has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tournament organisers have confirmed that the matches involving England’s men, women and U20s next weekend will not now take place. Organsiers faced the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year, and have now chosen the latter option.
Shaping the decision is the Italian Rugby Federation’s desire to retain the revenue generated by a lucrative home clash with Eddie Jones’ side. By staging the game behind closed doors, the cash-strapped union would have missed out on gate receipts for a potential 73,000 sell-out.
It is the second game of the 2020 Six Nations tournament to be postponed. 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, and over 100 deaths.
More information: THE GUARDIAN.