The IRFU are to defer a portion of the wages of staff and players from next month as a response to the halt of all rugby activity on the island due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The IRFU hope to return to full wages and also pay staff any deferrals "as soon as possible".

According to the Union, the deferrals will be based on an 'equitable sliding scale' which ranges from 10% – 50%,and  will remain "subject to constant review of the financial circumstances of the IRFU and Provinces".

All rugby activity under auspices of the IRFU has ceased for the 2019-20 season, with doubt surrounding when and how the Guinness Six Nations, Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup will be completed.

In England all rugby below the Gallagher Premiership has been called off for the season, while the Under-20 World Championships and Sevens Series have also been cancelled.

The decision to introduce deferrals is, according to chief executive Philip Browne, the result of rugby entering "uncharted waters as the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold".

Browne remains hopeful the Six Nations, Pro14 and Champions Cup will be completed in the summer or else the union will face "daunting challenges".

"This is important as the whole game, amateur and professional, is financially dependent on the resumption of the professional tournaments and the revenues that they generate.

"With postponement of these tournaments the IRFU and the provinces are facing some daunting financial challenges around loss of revenue and cash flow and we must cut our costs."

Rugby Players Ireland were consulted on the deferrals, with their CEO Simon Keogh saying his members "appreciate such moves are necessary in order to protect the future of the game in this country".