Ireland’s game with France abandoned minutes before the start
Frozen pitch causes headache and financial loss for fans
Irish rugby fans are out of pocket after Saturday night’s Six Nations clash with France was called off due to a frozen pitch – minutes before kick-off in Paris.
Rugby bosses will meet on Monday to decide when the reschedule the game which was abandoned by referee Dave Pearson as the two teams prepared to leave the dressing-room.
Temperatures in the French capital had plummeted all week and it was minus seven when Pearson made the call that the pitch was too dangerous to play on.
Fans have been promised that their tickets will be valid for the re-fixture but that is scant consolation to the thousands of Irish fans who spent heavily to get to Paris.
Those fans were already in their seats when the announcement was made – in French – that the game was off.
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After the announcement, Ireland coach Declan Kidney said: “One particular corner of the pitch was quite dangerous to play on so I believe the referee took the right decision.
“We had no option but to prepare fully and properly for the match right up until the last minute. The guys are pretty pumped up in there.
“But I think the referee has made the right decision. I believe the game will be rearranged but whether it is next week, which is a real tight ask, or later is for the Six Nations to decide.
“International rugby isn’t something where you turn up and go for a friendly jog around. But they’re great lads and they’ll settle down again.”
Former Irish out-half Tony Ward called the decision a farce however.
“When the captain’s run couldn’t happen on Friday and the kickers couldn’t get onto the pitch to practice, there is a problem. This is a big wake-up call for the Six Nations,” he raged.
Irish fan Brian Grimes said: “People back home knew the game was off before we did. We were in our seats about 10 minutes to kick off, the band were on the pitch ready to go. And then the announcement came the game was off.”
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