France are the reigning under-20 world champions ©Getty Images

Rugby union's Under-20 World Championship has been cancelled by World Rugby because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament was scheduled to be held in Italy - the country to have recorded the most COVID-19 deaths - and begin on June 28.

France have won the last two editions of the event.

"Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in line with Government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount", World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said.

On top that cancellation, two men's World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments and one women's Sevens Series tournament have been postponed.

The men's tournaments, taking place in London and Paris, have provisionally been moved to September - a month before the rescheduled Hong Kong and Singapore legs.

A new window has not yet been chosen for the women's tournament in Langford in Canada.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Rugby have also been monitoring how the pandemic may impact qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, Beaumont confirmed. 

World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Paris and London have been postponed ©Getty Images
World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Paris and London have been postponed ©Getty Images

"We are in close dialogue with the IOC relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final Repechage tournament, should that be required.

"We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are currently considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.

"Looking at a longer-term strategy, we are in continual dialogue with our unions, regions and the players' association relating to the wider global impact on rugby activities, including financial implications, driven by Government and health authority measures to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Regional qualifying events for the women's World Cup in 2021 and men's World Cup in 2023 have also been postponed, along with the last leg of the men's World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series, due to be staged in Hong Kong.

World Rugby also confirmed that staff were working remotely rather than at its Dublin offices, in line with Irish Government advice.

The death toll from COVID-19 has now passed 10,000 and it has ripped the sporting calendar apart, cancelling or postponing numerous events including World Championships and Olympic qualifiers.

The Pro14 - the league in which Ireland's four professional rugby teams play - is among those on hold.