New date for France vs Ireland to be announced

Updated: February 13, 2012

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The new date for France and Ireland’s Six nations encounter will be announced on Monday.

The match was cancelled ten minutes before kick-off on Saturday after the pitch was deemed unsafe due to the freezing weather.

The match will now be played on the weekend of 18/19 February or 3/4 of March, although the latter is more likely.

If the match is played in March, France and Ireland will have to play four weekends in a row.

The match was cancelled on Saturday despite the pitch passing an inspection 90 minutes before kick-off. Referee Dave Pearson has received the backing of the International Rugby Board, however.

An IRB statement read: “Player welfare and safety is the primary concern for the IRB and its match officials.”

“Having witnessed and assessed the rapid deterioration of the playing surface between the final pitch inspection and the scheduled kick-off time, and following consultation with the match official team, both coaches and championship organisers, Pearson deemed the pitch unplayable on player welfare grounds.”

Former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan is in favour of holding the re-match this week.

O’Sullivan said: “It’s a stretch to hold the game next Friday, but if we push it out between the mid-point then we’ll end up with Ireland and France playing four matches back to back. That would put a huge strain on the squad.

“It would be much better if they could play it next weekend and then have a break after the third week.

“That would make much more sense in terms of players not getting injured or burnt out. It would also keep the tournament in kilter in terms of results.”

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