The Six Nations council met yesterday and have said that they are yet to set a date for the replay of the game between France and Ireland in Paris. The game was called off within minutes of kickoff on Saturday night due to a frozen pitch.
Thousands of fans packed the Stade De France for what should have been a fascinating game of rugby. It certainly was interesting to watch, but the game never kicked off and 80 000 or so, both French and travelling Irish, were left wondering what on earth was going on.
Referee Dave Pearson took to the field a few minutes earlier and after doing all they can, it was decided that the field simply wasn’t safe enough for the game to go on. It was after 9pm in winter in Paris, with temperatures below freezing.
“Player welfare and safety is the primary concern for the IRB and its match officials. Having witnessed and assessed the rapid deterioration of the playing surface between the final pitch inspection and the scheduled kick-off time, and following consultation with the match official team, both coaches and championship organisers, Pearson deemed the pitch unplayable on player welfare grounds,” said statement from the IRB.
The challenge now is to find the best date for the game, with it looking likely that it will be the first weekend of March. While those who attended are able to return with their tickets, it’s probably scant consolation considering the costs involved from both Ireland and the south of France.
“Further to a meeting of the Six Nations Council today, we can confirm that the postponed RBS 6 Nations France versus Ireland match will not take place this weekend (Feb 17/18/19),” they said in a statement on Monday.
“A further meeting of the Council will take place tomorrow to hopefully resolve the issues of rescheduling and ticket policy. There are very significant logistical issues arising from this situation, and we would wish to be in a position to give a comprehensive clarification following the meeting.”
If it’s played on March 3rd, it would mean France and Ireland would have to play four successive games. There’s also the issue of the Top 14 clubs wanting their players back for that weekend, with some big fixtures lined up, including Clermont Auvergne vs Toulouse.
A decision confirming the date of the replay will be made today, earliest. It was the first time a Six Nations game has been called off because of weather conditions in over 25 years.
Below is a twenty minute video that takes you through the scenes in Paris as they happened, including some interesting discussions on the fiasco. If you were at the Stade De France, or know someone who was, please share your thoughts on what went on as a comment below.