Ireland’s summer tour to Fiji cancelled due to Covid-19 outbtreak
Andy Farrell’s side were due to play three Test matches against Pacific Island side in July
Ireland’s summer tour of July has been cancelled. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
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 on Friday 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 the Pacific Island 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.
The Brave Blossoms 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.