Fiji return 29 positive Covid tests – Italy match cancelled

Scotland's final Autumn Nations Cup pool match against Pacific Islanders on 28th November now hangs in the balance

The Covid outbreak in the Fiji squad has now infected 29 individuals. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
The Covid outbreak in the Fiji squad has now infected 29 individuals. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE Autumn Nations Cup has suffered another significant blow with news that this coming weekend’s clash between Italy and Fiji has had to be cancelled due to the Covid outbreak in the Fiji squad which caused last weekend’s match against France to be called off.

“The decision was taken after the latest round of COVID-19 tests undertaken yesterday by the Fijian team returned 29 positive cases this morning,” said a statement issued by the tournament organisers, meaning it is almost inevitable that the following weekend’s match between Scotland and Fiji will also not go ahead.

“The potential impact on Fiji’s remaining matches is currently under review,” added the statement.


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Meanwhile, it was confirmed earlier today that France will travel to Murrayfield as Group B leaders in the Autumn Nations Cup after being awarded a 28-0, bonus-point win from their cancelled match against Fiji. A similar decision will surely now be reached for the Italy versus Fiji game.

The tournament organisers could have declared the game a 0-0 draw and awarded the teams two points each, but, while not holding the Fijians culpable, ruled that they were responsible for the cancellation and therefore gave France five points. Scotland also have five points thanks to their 28-17, four-try win over Italy, but are behind Sunday’s opponents on points difference.

“Following last week’s cancellation of the France v Fiji match, the tournament organisers of the Autumn Nations Cup have confirmed a decision to award a 28-0 victory with Bonus Point to France,” a separate ANC statement explained. “Whilst no fault has been apportioned to Fiji Rugby, the competition rules provide that if a team is primarily responsible for a match not taking place, a 28-0 victory will be awarded to the opposition that could have played the match.

“We wish the affected Fiji players well as they continue their recovery, and are working closely with the Fiji team to ensure that they are able to field a competitive team against Italy. Further updates will follow once additional rounds of testing have been completed.”

Scotland remain in control of their own fate in the group, in that they will finish top as long as they beat both France and Fiji (if that game foes ahead) with or without bonus points.


An appreciation: Harry Whitaker

 

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2051 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. The trouble is we have a professional game being run by people who shouldn’t even be employed to empty the bins. This tournament started as a non-event and ends as a total farce.

    I believe the accounts can’t be published because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid and so they have to self-isolate. For about two years.

  2. What genius thought up the differential value for a cancelled game? If any proof were required to show that the management of the game is a mess it is the farce that offers up a 5 point bonus win to France, when there was an option of the more equitable shared points for a draw. In the first place that decision is contestable, would they have gained a bonus point? The second is would they have won?
    What is not debatable is that if the Italy v Fiji game goes the same way is the farce of a 5 pointer going to Italy. That isn’t being disrespectful but there is more chance of ‘The Donald’ winning a recount.
    If after handing out points to France and Italy the Scotland game goes ahead and Scotland don’t get a bonus point win or worse loose, where is, or rather what is the point of a supposed ‘competition’ why not just draw lots and play the game on a PS4.
    My attitude of the game going overtly professional was never really popular outside of my fellow ‘Alickadoo’s’ but if the game hadn’t gone open there is a reasonable case to argue that there would not have been the desperate requirement for faux tournaments, and another tenuous connection with yet another broadcaster chasing rugby fans for pay per view.
    Of course the Clubs would still have suffered to a degree and so would the Unions with cancelled fixtures but surely it would have been nowhere near the financial problems that appear to have developed in some areas.
    By the way, anybody seen the accounts yet?

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