Wednesday Evening Sports Update

RUGBY

Ireland’s Six Nations game with Italy has been cancelled due to fears over the coronavirus.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne confirmed the news following discussions with Department of Health officials.

The cancellation extends to the women’s and under-20’s games with their Azzurri counterparts.

Browne hopes the games can be rescheduled, but has no details on a date.

Meanwhile, the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead as planned despite the spread of the Corona Virus.

Officials have confirmed the Blue Riband is not under threat.

Mike Vince reports.

SOCCER

Manchester City are away to 13-time winners Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League tonight.

Raheem Sterling’s in contention for City having missed two games with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport have registered City’s appeal against a two-year European ban.

City were dealt the punishment for breaches of financial fairplay rules.

A date for the hearing is yet to be confirmed.

Tonight’s other Champions League last-16 tie sees Juventus go to Lyon.

Both games kick off at 8.

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took a 3-2 lead into the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Braga.

That game is into the second half and it’s 0-0.

Haji missed a penalty for Rangers just before half-time.

GAELIC GAMES

This Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division One game between Laois and Kilkenny has been moved to U-M-P-C Nowlan Park.

Laois forfeited home advantage due to concerns over the pitch at M-W Hire O’Moore Park which will now be closed for a number of weeks to repair the surface.

O’Moore’s boss Eddie Brennan admitted last weekend that their game against Carlow shouldn’t have gone ahead at the venue.

TENNIS

Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from at the age of 32.

The former world number one has struggled with shoulder problems, and recently fell to 373rd in the rankings.

Sharapova won five grand slam titles during her career, including Wimbledon in 2004.

She was banned for 15-months after failing a drugs test at the Australian Open in 2016.