Italy forced to move clash with the Boks

ITALY have been forced to move November's Test with South Africa from Florence to Udine after a late switch caused a clash with a Fiorentina soccer match, the Italian rugby federation said yesterday.

ITALY have been forced to move November's Test with South Africa from Florence to Udine after a late switch caused a clash with a Fiorentina soccer match, the Italian rugby federation said yesterday.

The game against the world champions, one of three home Tests in November for Italy, had long been scheduled for Saturday, November 21 at Florence's Stadio Franchi and tickets had already gone on sale.

But the Italian soccer league last week switched Florence-based Fiorentina's game with Parma to the Saturday from the Sunday to give the hosts extra time to prepare for their November 24 Champions League home clash with Olympique Lyon.

The league made the switch without checking if the ground would be available.

"In light of the situation that has recently developed, we decided to opt for a different venue to Florence," rugby federation president Giancarlo Dondi said.

"The wish to use Florence as a venue for Italy's future autumn internationals remains. Fans with tickets will be able to obtain refunds or convert the tickets for use at the new venue."

Officials rejected the idea of playing the Test on the Sunday because the already poor state of the Franchi pitch would have made it difficult in any case to play two soccer matches and a rugby game within four days.

Italy failed in bids to host the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup, where a number of soccer stadiums would have been used. - Reuters

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