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.
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.