Six Nations

France v Ireland called off

2012-02-11 22:12
France captain Thierry Dusautoir (File)

Paris - The Six Nations match between France and Ireland was cancelled just before kick-off at the Stade de France here on Saturday because of concerns over the pitch.

English referee Dave Pearson had passed it fit 90 minutes before the 20:00 GMT kick-off but the sub-zero temperatures had made it rock hard by the time the teams were preparing to come out onto the pitch.

The military band and a couple of groundsmen vainly trying to heat up part of the pitch stood their ground.

Boos rang out round the packed stadium as it dawned on the 70 000-plus spectators that the match had been called off.

Both teams came out on to the pitch to vainly salute the furious spectators, including thousands of Irish fans who'd made the long trip over.

"It's a real shame for you all but unfortunately the match has had to be cancelled," said French captain Thierry Dusautoir.

The match is now slated to be played next weekend.

It is not the first time that a France v Ireland match has been called off, the last time being in the old Five Nations in 1986 at the Parc des Princes.

"The pitch was unsafe. The referee had to take the decision and it was tough for one man to do it," Ireland coach Declan Kidney told BBC.

"In fairness it was the right decision. The players were pumped up but it will be a new experience for them.

"The game will be rearranged - next week might be a bit tight, but it's up to the Six Nations to decide. They are on the phone now. We will have to talk about it. I wouldn't like to guess."

Read more on:    six nations

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