Ireland's Six Nations campaign has been put on hold for now, with Saturday's game against France postponed for the foreseeable future. The ongoing global public health concerns relating to the COVID-19 virus has resulted in a number of sporting events throughout the world being affected, with this game just the latest.
It is hoped that the game will be played in October of this year, but this means Ireland will now be action until at least the summer tour to Australia.
Speaking to the media after the news of the confirmation was confirmed, Ireland coach Andy Farrell said that while he understands the decision, he is disappointed the team will not be given the chance to bounce back after their recent defeat to England:
It is what it is. You can’t do anything but the right thing. The reaction of the players when we’ve come back off a good morning’s work was one of deflation a little bit. Gutted.
We’ve built up for a couple of weeks on the back of a disappointment and we were looking forward to the week ahead.
We were literally on the training field going through our prep for this afternoon and tomorrow. We had some good chat setting up our week nicely and we’ve come off the indoor training field and we get the news.
We have to make new plans and we’re still in the process of doing that. We were literally told 10 minutes ago.
While it is unknown when exactly the championship will resume, Ireland will be in contention once it does. France's loss to Scotland yesterday means that Ireland's destiny is very much back in their own hands.
Bonus point victories in the two games against France and Italy would guarantee a first Six Nations title since 2018. Even nine points from the pair of fixtures could be enough.
Farrell admits that the team is not in a bad place, despite being well short of par at Twickenham in the last game:
We're a team that still in control of our own destiny so it's not a bad place to be. Everybody knows that the Six Nations is unbelievably difficult and everyone judges us on our performance.
At the end of the day we are two wins from three and so are a couple of other teams and some teams are below that. Regarding the outcome of those games our destiny is still in our hands.