Six Nations clash between France and Ireland rescheduled

 

Ireland's postponed match against France has been rescheduled for Sunday March 4, Six Nations Rugby Ltd have confirmed.

The game was aborted 10 minutes before kick-off on Saturday night after referee Dave Pearson deemed the Stade de France pitch to be unplayable following a week of sub-zero temperatures in Paris.

The Six Nations Council, who yesterday ruled out the option of this weekend, met today and decided upon March 4 with a kick-off time of 1500 GMT.

"We are delighted that we have agreed a new date within the Six Nations window for the match between France and Ireland," said Six Nations Rugby Ltd chief executive John Feehan.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) wanted the game to be played next season so that the Top 14 clubs would not have to lose their players to another international weekend.

Such a move would potentially have resulted in the championship finishing without a winner, but that scenario has been avoided.

Feehan also revealed that Irish and French supporters would be entitled to a full refund with details of the refund mechanism available tomorrow.

"First and foremost we'd like to express our regret at what happened on Saturday. It's deeply disturbing," Feehan said.

"It's terrible that it happened. It's very frustrating for the fans and we very much feel for everyone who was affected, Irish and French.

"However, looking forward we can announce that we will be staging the game on March 4, at 4pm (1500GMT) at the Stade de France.

"In addition we would like to also say that we can announce a full ticket refund scheme will be put in place for anybody who obviously can't attend the game.

"Obviously tickets can be used again, but a scheme will also be put in place."

Feehan admitted the Six Nations would reexamine its procedures for postponing a game in light of the farcical events at Stade de France last weekend.

"I think we are going to have to revisit our procedures," he said.

"The way the Six Nations has been organised to date is that each union, once it knows the time, place and venue for the game, is effectively responsible for staging that game.

"We are going to have to look at the procedures we have for calling it off.

"Under the rules as they exist now, the Six Nations office itself can't call off a game. It can only be called off by the whole council.

"It can be postponed by two other means. It can be postponed by the host union or it can be postponed on match day by the referee, which in this instance it was.

"As of now there is no procedure in place to change the game other than the host union or the referee."

The Irish Rugby Football Union issued a statement voicing its dismay at the new date chosen by the Six Nations council.

"We are disappointed with this decision," read the statement.

"While understanding the difficulties that a postponed game brings to the international and club rugby schedule, the IRFU had proposed to the Six Nations that the preferred alternative date would be Saturday March 3 with an afternoon kick off.

"This was based on providing the Ireland team, who will be travelling for a second time to Paris, with a seven-day turnaround between its remaining four fixtures in the tournament.

"It would also provided any supporters wishing to attend the rescheduled game with an appropriate window of travel.

"Both proposed dates were discussed by the Six Nations council, but the decision was taken by the majority of the council to proceed with the date of March 4."

PA

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