Tuesday 27 September 2016

Irish provinces remain in the dark over European re-fixtures in France

Published 19/11/2015 | 02:30

EPCR took the decision to postpone all round one games to be held in France last weekend in the wake of the attacks on Paris on Friday night, while Munster's visit to Paris this Sunday was later cancelled on police advice (Stock image)
EPCR took the decision to postpone all round one games to be held in France last weekend in the wake of the attacks on Paris on Friday night, while Munster's visit to Paris this Sunday was later cancelled on police advice (Stock image)

Munster and Ulster remain in the dark over when their games against Stade Francais and Oyonnax will be played.

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Discussions between tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) and the leagues involved are ongoing, while the broadcasters will also have a part to play in the process.

EPCR took the decision to postpone all round one games to be held in France last weekend in the wake of the attacks on Paris on Friday night, while Munster's visit to Paris this Sunday was later cancelled on police advice.

Indications are that the re-fixed games will not be played this month as had been hoped and, with the schedule tighter than ever due to the impact of the World Cup, there are limited windows in which the games can be played. EPCR yesterday issued a statement outlining that all clubs and leagues involved wished to play the games and discussions are ongoing.

That desire runs contrary to the comments of Bath owner Bruce Craig who claimed his side's game against Toulon would never be played, but the English club's position has softened.

In total, five round one fixtures need to be re-arranged involving seven French clubs, two Pro12 and one Premiership as well as the Stade v Munster game. The fixture chaos could impact on Ireland's preparation for the Six Nations with Joe Schmidt set to have a pre-Christmas camp with his players and the provinces expected to manage their players' workload over the busy schedule.

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