Italy rugby tour to New Zealand cancelled because of Covid-19

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Italy coach Franco Smith. (Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP)
Italy coach Franco Smith. (Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP)

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) confirmed on Monday that their two-Test tour in July to New Zealand would not go ahead because of continued concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Italy were due to face the All Blacks on 3 July and again a week later.

The decision was made following consultations with World Rugby, New Zealand Rugby and the government health authorities of the two countries.

"After exploring possible alternatives, we had to take note with deep regret of how current conditions made it preferable for us to focus instead on the autumn series," said FIR president Marzio Innocenti in a statement.

The FIR hopes spectators will be allowed back into the stadium to watch when Italy host the All Blacks on 6 November, part of a northern hemisphere tour on which the New Zealanders also face Wales and France.

New Zealand has won widespread praise for its coronavirus response, recording just 26 deaths in a population of five million.

Italy by contrast, was at the forefront of the virus's advance into Europe in 2020 and has suffered more than four million cases and 122 000 fatalities.

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