Cardiff Blues’ Guinness Pro14 game against Zebre at the Arms Park on Saturday 21st March has been postponed as Italy enters a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus.
The Southern European country is the worst hit by the outbreak of Coronavirus outside of China, where the virus originated, and on Monday the Italian Prime Minister ordered people to stay at home. Sporting events in the country have been suspended until 3rd April.
On the back of this the Pro14 have taken the decision to cancel all games involving Italian sides during rounds 14 and 15, including Cardiff Blues v Zebre. All tickets for the game will remain valid for the rescheduled fixture.
Zebre have already had their round 13 game at home to Ospreys and round 15 game at home to Connacht called off due to the Coronavirus, with the Pro14 organisers confirming they were looking at the weekends of European knockout games to re-arrange those fixtures.
With the Cardiff Blues game now also postponed then there is still a spare weekend of European action it could be moved to. If the game cannot be re-arranged then league rules state it goes down as 0-0 draw with two points being awarded to each team.
A Guiness Pro14 statement read;
“All Round 14 & 15 Guinness PRO14 fixtures involving Benetton Rugby and Zebre Rugby Club have now been postponed due to restrictions enforced by the Italian government that will prevent the teams from travelling. The Round 14 game between Cardiff Blues and Zebre in Wales and the Round 15 game between Munster Rugby and Benetton in Ireland have now been postponed.
“This means that six Italian fixtures now require alternative dates as authorities in Italy take action to combat the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. PRO14 Rugby has been consistent in ensuring that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.
“Currently in northern Italy, no unnecessary travel is permitted in or out of the Lombardy region and 14 other provinces, which include the cities of Treviso and Parma. These restrictions are in place until Friday, April 3, 2020 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR (Italian Union), Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor situation on a regular basis.
“The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest report has listed over 100 countries with confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. To ensure the safety of our players and spectators PRO14 Rugby fully supports the preventative measures taken in Italy and will adhere to the directives from the WHO and local authorities.”