Elwood focus moves to Quins as Connacht and Ulster fall victim to freeze
THE weather claimed more sporting fixtures yesterday as Ulster and Connacht's Magners League matches -- scheduled to take place tonight in Ravenhill and Galway respectively -- were called off.
Connacht authorities carried out a pitch inspection yesterday morning and called off the game against Aironi due to freezing weather conditions, with Magners League officials set to refix the game at a later date.
It was due to be the first meeting between the sides in the competition, but Connacht CEO Gerry Kelly insisted that safety had to be their upmost consideration.
"We are bitterly disappointed to have to call off the match, but the pitch is unplayable at the moment," he said.
"We are also conscious of the dangers travelling fans would face and though the forecast is for slightly milder weather tomorrow, with no guarantees of a thaw we could not run the risk of leaving a decision any later, with respect Aironi's travel arrangements."
It leaves coach Eric Elwood with a less than ideal preparation for the upcoming Amlin Challenge Cup clash against Harlequins on Sunday week.
Connacht haven't won in five Magners League matches and were expected to pick up a morale-boosting win at home to the Italian minnows before the trip to the Stoop.
"We were hoping to carry the momentum from our good performance in Edinburgh last weekend into that match, but we'll use the extra time to prepare for our back-to-back Amlin Challenge Cup games against Harlequins now," said Elwood.
Ulster were forced to call off their game against the Dragons, despite putting covers on their pitch earlier in the week. An overnight frost meant the clash had to be postponed.
They face Bath at home in the Heineken Cup on Saturday week.
Supporters have been advised to hold on to tickets purchased as they will be valid for the rescheduled fixture.
Elsewhere, all AIL matches scheduled for this weekend in Leinster and Connacht have been postponed.
A decision on games fixed for Munster and Ulster will be made at 11.0 this morning.
The Leinster Branch has also cancelled its series of matches for the weekend covering adult, women and youths.
The women's inter-provincial final between Leinster and Munster fixed for Donnybrook on Sunday, has also been called off.