Coronavirus: Ireland cancel Fiji tour over concerns relating to new outbreak in region
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell: "It is incredibly disappointing.....It would have been a tough rugby challenge against an excellent Fijian side and a huge opportunity for us to develop as a group and build on the progress made during the past year"
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 01/05/21 7:13am
Ireland have cancelled their summer tour of Fiji due to concerns relating to a recent coronavirus outbreak on the island.
Fiji has undertaken lockdown measures to limit the spread of the rise in cases and the increased level of risk has led to the IRFU to postpone the country's series there.
The IRFU will now be speaking to other Unions about opportunities to organise alternative Test match options for the July international window.
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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: "It is incredibly disappointing that we are not now able to tour Fiji. It would have been a tough rugby challenge against an excellent Fijian side and a huge opportunity for us to develop as a group and build on the progress made during the past year.
"Touring is such an invaluable experience in terms of what we learn about the group and that is why the IRFU worked tirelessly with Simon Raiwalui, the high performance general manager of Fiji Rugby to make the tour a reality and it is such a shame that it can now not go ahead.
"We will be looking to source alternative fixtures and we hope to have them nailed down in the coming weeks."
IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: "A great deal of effort has gone into the planning of the tour which was predicated on a safety-first approach. Fiji up until this point had been relatively untouched by the pandemic but that picture has quickly changed and unfortunately it is no longer viable to proceed with the tour.
"The rugby challenge in Fiji would have been formidable and would have exposed our players to the athleticism and skillset that the Fijians are famous for.
"It would have provided a significant developmental window for the national group considering that they also missed out on a summer tour in 2020."