Ireland matches postponed until next season
April 1, 2001

The Six Nations Committee have decided to postpone Ireland's three delayed Championship matches until the autumn at the earliest as the foot and mouth epidemic continues to affect the British Isles.

The Committee issued a statement after their emergency meeting in Copenhagen on Sunday, saying: "After reviewing the current position, and the likely prognosis for the foreseeable future it has been decided that the remaining matches will be postponed until the commencement of next season.

"There will now be consultation with the Unions and our commercial partners about future possible alternative dates before new dates are set".

Originally the matches had been re-arranged for 29 April (Wales v Ireland in Cardiff), 5 May (Ireland v England) and 12 May (Scotland v Ireland).

However the IRFU took the advice of their Government, which stated that no fixtures with teams from the British mainland could be undertaken until 30 days had passed after the last reported case of foot and mouth in the UK.

The Scottish Rugby Union also issued a statement on Sunday evening reiterating the decision but reassuring fans over their tickets. "Supporters are reassured that tickets they have purchased will remain valid for the rescheduled fixture.

"We will continue to work closely with the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Six Nations Committee and any relevant authorities in order to set a firm date for the fixture as soon as is practicable," the statement continued. "The Scottish Rugby Union thanks supporters, sponsors and the tourist industry for their understanding at such a difficult time."

Only last Friday an SRU spokesman had said that the Union would do everything they could to ensure the game went ahead in may, but clearly the continuation of the epidemic in the British mainland has scuppered their plans.

The decision means that this season's final Championship matches will be this weekend, between England and France (at Twickenham on Saturday) and Italy and Wales (Rome, Sunday).

The move was made on the same day that horse racing's Cheltenham National Hunt festival - already delayed from mid-March - was abandoned for this year.

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