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IRFU to explore July options after tour of Fiji is cancelled

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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell

Ireland's summer tour to Fiji has been cancelled due to the escalating Covid-19 crisis in the Pacific Island.

Andy Farrell's men were due to travel to Fiji for what would have been viewed as a crucial developmental tour for many of Ireland's young and upcoming players.

The IRFU will now explore alternative opportunities with regard to taking on other countries in order to ensure that some games can take place in the coming months.

Although Fiji largely had a firm grip over Covid, a recent outbreak has plunged the country into crisis and as such, it has not been deemed safe for Ireland to travel there this summer.

"It is incredibly disappointing that we are not now able to tour Fiji," Farrell said.

"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."

The IRFU has been working closely with the Fijian Rugby Union and World Rugby over the past few months with planning at a very advanced stage, but those plans have now been scuppered.

"A great deal of effort has gone into the planning of the Tour which was predicated on a safety first approach," IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora said.

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"Fiji up until this point had been relatively untouched by the pandemic but that picture has quickly changed and unfortunately it is no longer viable to proceed with the tour.

"The rugby challenge in Fiji would have been formidable and would have exposed our players to the athleticism and skillset that the Fijians are famous for. It would have provided a significant developmental window for the national group considering that they also missed out on a summer tour in 2020.

"I would like to thank the Fijian Rugby Union, the Fijian government and World Rugby for their support over the past few months and I have no doubt it would have been a successful and fantastic touring experience.

"We will continue to explore alternative arrangements with our partner Unions."


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