The Irish Times - Sports Weekend

Ireland’s three- Test tour to Fiji cancelled due to Covid- 19

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Ireland’s proposed summer tour to Fiji has been cancelled due to a Covid- 19 outbreak in the Pacific Island country.

Andy Farrell’s side had been scheduled to play three Test matches on July 3rd, 10th and 17th.

However a lockdown in Fiji – which had previously avoided community transmissi­on during the pandemic – has led to the IRFU confirming the cancellati­on of the tour yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the week Fiji health officials were bracing themselves for a “tsunami” of Covid- 19 cases, after the Indian variant was found to be behind a recent outbreak.

With Fiji now in lockdown the IRFU has said in a statement “it is no longer viable to proceed with the planned tour,” for which “planning was at a very advanced stage.”

On the cancellati­on of the July tour, Ireland boss 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.”

With a hole now to fill in the summer schedule, Ireland could potentiall­y look to play fixtures against the USA, Canada and Japan.

Japan are set to play the Lions in a warm- up match at Murrayfiel­d on June 26th, while England’s summer tour of the USA and Canada could be switched to the UK.

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