The Irish Rugby Football Union has confirmed that Ireland's upcoming summer tour of Fiji has been cancelled following the pandemic coronavirus.
The decision follows after the Fiji government had tightened the lockdown protocols with the fear of increasing Covid cases. Currently the health ministry has confirmed 50 active cases in the country with 29 transmitted locally.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell expressed disappointment on missing the opportunity to face Fiji and is expected to have an alternative arrangement.
"It is incredibly disappointing that we are not now able to tour Fiji. 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," said Farrell.
"Touring is such an invaluable experience in terms of what we learn about the group and that is why the IRFU worked tirelessly with Simon Raiwalui, the high performance general manager of Fiji Rugby to make the tour a reality and it is such a shame that it can now not go ahead.
"We will be looking to source alternative fixtures and we hope to have them nailed down in the coming weeks."
IRFU performance director David Nucifora said the decision was arrived after working closely with the Fijian Rugby Union and World Rugby over the last few months.
"A great deal of effort has gone into the planning of the tour which was predicated on a safety-first approach. 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.
"The rugby challenge in Fiji would have been formidable and would have exposed our players to the athleticism and skillset that the Fijians are famous for.
"It would have provided a significant developmental window for the national group considering that they also missed out on a summer tour in 2020."