France have agreed to play next weekend's Women’s Six Nations game against Ireland in Dublin after Covid-19 regulations threatened the fixture.
The game was originally fixed for Stadium Lille Métropole next Saturday.
However, under current Irish Government guidelines, the team, who are all amateurs, would have had to isolate for 14 days upon return from France.
Understandably, this would have proved difficult for a number of the players, who unlike the men’s team are not part of the exempt elite and high-performance athletes list.
The France Women’s XV can travel to and from Ireland without restriction as there is no requirement from the French Government to isolate on return to their country.
The IRFU had discussed the implications of the travel guidance with Sport Ireland and the Department of Sport to explore if a derogation on the guidelines was possible, as the players are operating in a highly controlled high-performance "bubble".
It was confirmed this week that such a derogation from the guidelines could not be granted, a decision fully accepted by the union.
With three games in this year's championship under their belt from February, Ireland have just two more left to play. Here's how their @Womens6Nations has gone so far #RTERugby #RTESport #IREvITA live on @RTE2 @RTEPlayer @RTERadio1Extra 6.30pm Saturday pic.twitter.com/tb7WuQBMGV— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 23, 2020
"We are extremely grateful to the French Federation and their Women’s Team for this superb act of solidarity with the Ireland Women’s Team and IRFU," CEO Philip Browne said.
"To experience such generosity of spirit is uplifting and goes to the very heart of what the sport of Rugby, and the Six Nations, is all about."
Ireland, currently third in the table, face Italy at Donnybrook tomorrow at 6.30pm.
France can still mathematically win the championship but would need Italy to beat England next weekend.
Follow Ireland v Italy (3.30pm Saturday) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1.
Follow Ireland v Italy in the Women's Six Nations (6.30pm) live on RTÉ2 and on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.