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Ireland coaching staff set for meeting as Andy Farrell faces preparation headache after Italy postponement

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Andy Farrell and his coaching staff are facing a preparation headache after Ireland vs Italy was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Andy Farrell and his coaching staff are facing a preparation headache after Ireland vs Italy was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Andy Farrell and his coaching staff are facing a preparation headache after Ireland vs Italy was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The Ireland management are set to meet this evening to plan their next steps following the postponement of next week's Six Nations clash against Italy.

The squad will press ahead with their original plans to meet in Dublin later today to begin preparations for a two-day training camp, culminating in an open session in Donnybrook.

It remains to be seen if that session, which is open to the public, will go ahead as Ireland may decide to alter their plans without a game to prepare for next week.

Ireland were already forced to cancel an open session in Cork earlier this month due to Storm Denis, so the IRFU may be of a mind to go ahead with this Friday's meeting in Donnybrook.

Not having a game next weekend will provide a major headache for Andy Farrell, who would have been keen for his players to rid themselves of last weekend's bitterly disappointing defeat in England.

Farrell is now facing the already daunting prospect of going to Paris on March 14, not having played a game in three weeks.

France are due to take on Scotland next week and as it stands, that game will go ahead as Les Bleus look to remain on course for the Grand Slam.

Two players who are likely to get some game time are Ultan Dillane and Dave Heffernan, who have been released to travel to South Africa with Connacht for their PRO14 fixture against the Southern Kings.

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The IRFU, along with the Italian Federation and the Six Nations organisers have already begun working on an alternative date for Ireland's meeting with Italy.

As of yet, it is unclear when the game could take place due to the congested nature of the rugby calendar.

Back in 2001, three of Ireland's Six Nations games were postponed until the Autumn due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. It remains to be seen if something similar will happen in this case.

Ireland are already scheduled to play Australia (November 7), South Africa (November 14) and Japan (November 21) in three Autumn Tests.


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