By Matt Hughes and Will Kelleher For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:37 GMT, 26 February 2020 | Updated: 22:39 GMT, 26 February 2020
The Six Nations are scrambling to salvage this season’s championship amid the devastation wrought by coronavirus.
Officials at the RFU and the Italian Rugby Federation have expressed confidence that Eddie Jones’ side will be able to finish their campaign as planned at the Stadio Olimpico on March 14.
The title could still be up for grabs, but whether the fixture goes ahead will ultimately be decided by the public health advice each union receives from their respective governments.
The Irish government acted decisively in postponing three matches against Italy after the death toll in the country rose to 12 from 378 reported cases. The women’s and Under 20 fixtures scheduled for March 8 in Dublin were also put on hold, putting the viability of the Six Nations in doubt.
Officials from all six countries and the organising committee will hold talks in the next few days about how and when to rearrange postponed fixtures.
The Irish government postponed their home match with Italy amid health concerns over travel
The women’s and Under 20 fixtures scheduled for March 8 in Dublin were also put on hold
The Six Nations seems certain to over-run, as it did following postponements due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 when it was not completed until October.
The next available date which would not cause huge disruption to the club calendar is the European Cup semi-final weekend at the start of May.
Grand Slam-chasing France or England may have won the Six Nations by then, but as it stands, Ireland could still have a chance if