DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland canceled its rugby tour of Fiji in July on Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic and was looking for alternative opponents.

The Irish said planning was at an advanced stage for up to three tests in Fiji while the British and Irish Lions were in South Africa.

But Fiji's main cities went into lockdown last weekend, and the uncertainty caused by a rise in virus cases forced the Irish Rugby Union to cancel the trip.

“The tour was predicated on a safety first approach,” IRFU performance director David Nucifora said in a statement. “Fiji up until this point had been relatively untouched by the pandemic but that picture has quickly changed and unfortunately it is no longer viable to proceed with the tour.”

Nucifora said they will try to make alternative arrangements for the July test window.

Coach Andy Farrell called the cancellation incredibly disappointing.

"It would have been a tough rugby challenge against an excellent Fijian side and a huge opportunity for us to develop as a group and build on the progress made during the past year,” Farrell said.


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