Ireland v France clash set to go ahead with government exemption

Updated Apr 12th 2021, 10:30 PM

THIS WEEKEND’S CLASH between Ireland and France in Dublin is set to go ahead despite earlier fears that the Women’s Six Nations fixture could be affected by the Irish government’s Covid-19 quarantine restrictions.

The game is scheduled to take place at Energia Park in Dublin on Saturday but France is being added to the government’s list of countries from where visitors to Ireland must quarantine in a hotel for at least 10 days upon arrival. That change is due to come into effect at 4am this Thursday, 15 April.

However, the France national team are set to receive an elite athletes’ exemption allowing them to fly in and out of Dublin for the game without quarantining.

While some details remain to be ironed out, the exemption comes as a major relief to the IRFU and Six Nations.

“Engagements are ongoing between the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Department of Health to put in place a regulatory framework to facilitate selected and limited international sports travel to/from Category 2 countries,” reads a statement from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

“Quarantine arrangements would be subject to agreement by Sport Ireland and the HSE who would have to be reassured that they would provide an equivalent level of protection and reassurance as the hotel quarantine regime.”

Adam Griggs’ Ireland opened their Six Nations campaign with a resounding 45-0 win over Wales in Cardiff last weekend but will face a tougher test against the semi-professional French on Saturday.

A win for Ireland would see them advance into the final of this year’s reformatted Six Nations against the defending champions England.

The elite athletes’ exemption is also good news for Leinster, who are due to travel to France to play La Rochelle in the Champions Cup semi-finals in three weekends’ time.

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