IRFU seek alternative fixtures as Fiji tour cancelled

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

IRFU seek alternative fixtures as Fiji tour cancelled

Out-half Joey Carbery in action for Ireland in their 2017 Test with Fiji at the Aviva Stadium

THE IRFU have confirmed that the planned tour to Fiji this summer cannot proceed due to uncertainty caused by a Covid-19 outbreak.

The IRFU say they have been working closely with the Fijian Rugby Union and World Rugby over the past few months with planning at a very advanced stage but unfortunately a recent COVID outbreak and subsequent lock down in Fiji has increased the level of risk and it is no longer viable to proceed with the planned tour.

The IRFU will be speaking to other Unions about opportunities to organise alternative Test match options for the July international window.

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, added: “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.

"I would like to thank the Fijian Rugby Union, the Fijian government and World Rugby for their support over the past few months and I have no doubt it would have been a successful and fantastic touring experience.

"We will continue to explore alternative arrangements with our partner Unions.”