"There's bigger things than finishing the Six Nations" - Farrell
"We'll be doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that we keep our side of things nice and clean and we'll wait for the advice."
Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell has said that he and his side would be "more than happy to follow" government advice should the Six Nations be cancelled in the interest of health and safety for the country in the wake of rising Covid-19 numbers.
It emerged on Friday morning that NPHET has once again recommended Ireland move to Level 5, this time for a period of six weeks, less than two weeks after a similar recommendation was rejected by government.
Under Level 5 of the government's roadmap, no matches or sporting events can take place. The elite sport exemption applicable in Level 4 is not mentioned in the document should the country move to the highest level of restrictions as advised.
Speaking to media on Friday afternoon, Farrell said that the games could be a lift for the country at the moment;
"Obviously, I'd love to play the games. I'd love to get the Six Nations finished and play in the Autumn Nations Cup. We've waited a long time for international rugby to come back. It's a nice tonic for the whole country to be able to watch the sport at international level, and come back on our screens.
"We're desperate to put a good showing for the people of Ireland but, as I've said before, there's bigger things than rugby, isn't there? We'll just be advised and do the right thing by the country and what the government want us to do."
However, Farrell also said that the games need to be looked at in the context of the pandemic, which is resurgent across Ireland Europe at the moment;
"There's bigger things than finishing the Six Nations. If that's what the government feel that that's needed for the health and the safety of the country, then we'll be more than happy to follow that.
"But obviously we'll be doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that we keep our side of things nice and clean and we'll wait for the advice."
Ireland are due to face Italy in Dublin on Saturday week, before travelling to Paris to take on France the following weekend. A series of November internationals against Wales, England and Georgia are also in jeopardy.
Farrell went on to say that the players do have good experience of the turmoil caused by Covid in professional sport from the last few months with their provinces;
"I suppose we're pretty lucky that our boys have been in a similar type of process at their clubs for some time now, so they're used to living with the virus and trying to cope with it and obviously do the right thing by it etcetera.
"So we've got protocols in place and we need to make sure that we adhere to that, and we're certainly doing that at this point in time and we're glad to continue because we need to make sure that we get off the ground against Italy, get the game played and obviously move on to finishing the Six Nations against France."