With just ten minutes until kick-off, word started to filter through that the match was off. After hearing that referee Dave Pearson had given the go-ahead around two hours before the scheduled start, the excitement had gone into overdrive for what was sure to be one of the highlights of this Six Nations. With the Stade de France almost full, the official announcement came that the game was postponed because of the weather conditions.
The boos that greeted the news were only a mild expression of what the fans who had spent hard-earned cash to travel to France must have felt. They would not have been blamed for an angrier expression of their feelings. How did it come to a decision ten minutes before kick-off? Surely in this day and age, the officials in charge could have foreseen this happening and made an earlier call? With the freezing temperatures that have hit Paris all week and were forecast for tonight, it’s fair to say the weather was no surprise.
It’s hard not to feel for the loyal Irish supporters who made the trip, having spent their money and taken days off work. However, it is what it is and the game is off. Anger at the decision won’t achieve anything, but the organisers involved have to learn from this. It should never again get to the point where a game is called off with just minutes to go until kick-off. Given this particualr situation though, it was obviously the right call by Pearson. Players should never be forced to play in dangerous circumstances.
This obviously effects the playing side of things. The game will most likely be rescheduled for one of the tournament’s break weekends, either February 18/19th or March 3/4th. If the game were to be put back to that weekend in March, it would mean four matches in-a-row for Ireland. That would be a big ask in such a high-intensity tournament. On the flip side, it would mean Ireland’s next match being at home to Italy, a good chance for a morale boosting win before taking on the French.
Playing the game next weekend seems unlikely given the logistics involved planning a game with a crowd of 80,000 people. As well as that, Stade de France is scheduled to be used for Stade Francais vs. Toulon Top 14 match on Saturday. It may be that Ireland are forced into four matches on consecutive weekends. From a supporters point of view, that would make things quite interesting, and if Ireland kicked the run off with a win in Italy, momentum could carry them back to France and beyond.
What was your take on what happened in Paris? Comment below with your view of things. When would you like to see the match rescheduled for? Would four weekends in-a-row be too much of an ask?