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Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

12.30 24 Feb 2020


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Ulster's Guinness PRO14 meeting with Benetton on Saturday has been postponed, due to fears over the spread of the Coronavirus.

More than 100 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Italy, with sporting activities in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions in the north of the country suspended at the weekend.

Ulster were due to face the Conference B side this weekend, but a statement from the league has confirmed that it will now be rescheduled for a later date, with the meeting of Zebre and the Ospreys also postponed.

A Pr014 statement reads:

"Both Guinness PRO14 fixtures set to take place in Italy this weekend have been postponed due to the restrictions enforced by national and local authorities dealing with the threat posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

"Contingency-planning around the rescheduling of the Round 13 games – Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys (14:00 local) and Benetton v Ulster (16:00 local) – are currently underway.

"The restrictions on public gatherings and sporting events put in place by the Italian authorities apply in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions and have already seen a Women’s Six Nations game and four Serie A football fixtures postponed over the weekend.

"Fixtures in Italy’s national rugby championship, Top 12, and all domestic rugby activities have also been postponed ahead of this weekend.

"The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest report has listed 78 countries with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus.

"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 WHO and local authorities."

It comes after Munster Rugby confirmed they consulted with the World Health Organisation prior to their win versus Zebre in Italy last Friday night.

Health Minister Simon Harris has also expressed his concerns about the Six Nations meeting of Ireland and Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday March 7.

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