England’s Six Nation match against Italy in Rome next week has reportedly been postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The 14 March game was due to take place behind closed doors after Italian authorities ordered all sporting events to be held without fans because of the coronavirus outbreak which has led to more than 3,000 cases and killed 107 people in Italy.
Six Nations organisers had already pushed back Saturday’s match between Ireland and Italy.
Broadcaster ITV had reportedly decided not to send a commentary team to the match, with coverage set to be run from London instead.
World cup winning former England coach Sir Clive Woodward called for organisers to call off the tournament in light of the outbreak.
“There are some things much more important than sport and when something like the coronavirus comes along, rugby has to step into line, take advice from the experts and do what is right,” Woodward wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Sport has to be flexible and change its plans and, in my opinion, the sooner the better to minimise the disruption for everybody. There is a far bigger picture.”
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Woodward said he expected sport in the UK to be in “lockdown” by the end of the month.
“As for the Six Nations, I would suggest this will be the final weekend. I don’t see how any of the games next weekend can, in good faith, be allowed to take place,” he said.
“Unless I’m mistaken the situation is going to get worse before it gets better and although we have escaped relatively unscathed in the UK so far, we have to prepare for the worst.”