By Liam Morgan

Italy and Ireland will face each other in a wheelchair rugby match in Rome before the two countries clash in the Six Nations ©IWRFItaly will take on Ireland in a wheelchair international in Rome before the two countries do battle in this year's Six Nations, the International Wheelchair Rubgy Federation (IWRF) have announced.

The match will take place at the Stella Azzurra Basket Arena in Via Flaminia on Saturday (February 7) at 10am, and Italy and Ireland will open their Six Nations campaign when they clash in the Italian capital in the afternoon. 

The idea to pair the wheelchair rugby contest with the Six Nations event, which also features England, Scotland, France and Wales, was an idea conjured up by the Italian Paralympic Committee and the Paralympic and Experimental Sports Federation (FISPES).

Entrance to the wheelchair match will be free and after the game, players and media will be invited to the prize giving ceremony.

The sport has enjoyed a surge in growth since its inception at the Paralympic Games, where a demonstration event took place in Atlanta in 1996.

Wheelchair rugby was a part of the Paralympic programme at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, as well as Beijing in 2008, and it was particularly after London 2012 that the sport really took off.

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