Ospreys and Ulster matches off due to Coronavirus outbreak in Italy

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Guinness PRO14 matches involving Welsh club Ospreys and Irish side Ulster have been postponed due to restrictions enforced by authorities dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Ospreys were due to play Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma on Saturday, with Ulster set to face Benetton at the Stadio Monigo in Treviso later the same day.

Plans are being made to reschedule both round-13 fixtures.

“To ensure the safety of our players and spectators PRO14 Rugby fully supports the preventative measures taken in Italy and will adhere to the directives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local authorities,” read a statement on the PRO14 website.

“The current restrictions are in place until March 1 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR (Italian Union), Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor (the) situation on a daily basis.”

Restrictions on public gatherings and sporting events put in place by the Italian authorities apply in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions.

A Women’s Six Nations game and four Serie A football fixtures were postponed over the weekend.

In addition, fixtures in Italy’s national rugby championship – Top 12 – and all domestic rugby activities have also been postponed ahead of next weekend.

The latest WHO report has listed 78 countries with confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

Milan-San Remo, one of the biggest one-day races on the cycling calendar, could also be in doubt.

Mark Cavendish is among the riders targeting the ‘Monument’ that is scheduled for March 21.

Mark Cavendish is scheduled to race at Milan-Sen Remo
Mark Cavendish is scheduled to race at Milan-Sen Remo (Chris Radburn/PA)

“We’re involved with several events coming up. We’re still optimistic with regard to the first two races – Strade-Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico – if nothing more happens of course, but Milan-San Remo is in a different situation. That’s because it involves an area in Lombardy that has quite a lot of problems at the moment.

“We’ve still got three weeks to go and we hope that the situation gets better. Otherwise it’s difficult to think about a Plan B to be honest.

“If the area of Lombardy remains in the same situation, where the race starts in Milan, I think we must fear that the national health administration and the Italian Olympic committee might ask us to cancel Milan-San Remo.”

Meanwhile, the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship has been rescheduled to October 7-10.

The tournament at the Siam Country Club Waterside in Pattaya, Thailand had been due to take place earlier this month, but it was postponed following concerns over the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, said, “We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with the authorities to ensure we can stage the championship safely in October.”

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