England’s Six Nations clash with Italy postponed due to coronavirus

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Owen Farrell of England cuts past Luca Morisi of Italy during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Italy at Twickenham Stadium on March 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Owen Farrell cuts past Luca Morisi of Italy. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

England’s Six Nations game against Italy on March 14 in Rome has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the PA news agency understands.

Tournament organisers faced the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year and have chosen the latter option.

Official confirmation of the decision is expected from Six Nations later today.

More than 3,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy and 107 have died, making it the worst-hit European country.

On Wednesday, the country's government announced all schools and universities would be closed until 15 March.

Next week's Six Nations game is the second involving Italy's team to be affected by COVID-19.

This weekend's rugby match between Ireland and Italy, due to be held in Dublin, had already been called off.

Ireland's Public Health Emergency team said the fixture would be "a significant risk because a very large number of people would be travelling from what is now an affected region".

More to follow.