France v Scotland: Wednesday evening decision on whether game can go ahead

10 players in the French squad have now tested positive to Covid, throwing into doubt Sunday's Six Nations clash in Paris

Scotland's Six Nations match against France on. Sunday is in doubt due to a Covid outbreak in the French squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland's Six Nations match against France on. Sunday is in doubt due to a Covid outbreak in the French squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND will find out on Wednesday night whether their Six Nations clash against France will go ahead as scheduled on Sunday.

With five new positive Covid test results reported by the Fédération Française de Rugby [FFR] this [Monday] morning, the total number of officially confirmed cases amongst the French playing group is up to 10. Meanwhile, French media is reporting that second-row Baptiste Pesenti – who was called into the squad as emergency cover on Sunday – tested positive at his club before making the switch to the national camp.

The remainder of the squad French will train “with restricted movement and no close contact” for the next 48 hours and be tested every 24 hours.


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While it is clear that Six Nations, Scotland and France are all very keen for the game to go ahead on Sunday, that will presumably depend on there being no, or very few, new Covid cases before Wednesday’s meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group.

If the game can’t be played on Sunday, then a rescheduling is the preferred option, however pushing it back to the following weekend which is currently a fallow week – would open up a can of worms in terms of World Rugby’s Regulation 9 which governs player release from clubs for international duty.

A statement issued by Six Nations explained:

A meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) took place today to review the situation in France in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak in the French team.

The TOG was advised by the French Rugby Union representative that all players who returned to the National Training Centre yesterday were tested on arrival and put in isolation pending results.

All five players who tested positive have now left the training base.

The rest of the squad, all of whom tested negative are training with restricted movement and no close contact for the next 48 hours. All players and staff will be tested every 24 hours.

The TOG will reconvene on Wednesday 24 February in the evening to review the situation. A decision on whether the France v Scotland fixture can go ahead will be made at that stage. Ensuring the health and safety of all players and staff is our number one priority. Should the decision be that the fixture cannot go ahead, the match will be rescheduled for the earliest possible date.

Six Nations would like to wish all affected players, coaches, and support team a speedy recovery.

A statement issued by Scottish Rugby said:

“Scotland’s national team are continuing their preparations to play France in Paris on Sunday. Our players, coaches and fans hope the game can go ahead as planned in the existing tournament schedule.

“Any postponement will have an impact on the player release agreement in place with clubs, which could see more than 10 Scotland players unavailable for selection if the game is rearranged.

“We will be working closely with our Six Nations counterparts to press the case for this week’s game to go ahead, should it be medically safe to do so.”

Meanwhile, the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been extended by a week to ensure that all teams will have at least five days preparation for all matches, with squad sizes increased from 31 to 33 to further assist preparation.


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2212 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.

15 Comments

  1. Common sense says that the game should be postponed. Natural justice also suggests that is must only take place when all the Scottish players are available. To postpone it by only one week and then have Scotland play with players missing is unacceptable.

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  2. Once again Scotland players are being let down by doing things properly where others have not. The losses we incurred in the European games where our team were isolating because they came in contact with an English team who had not was ridiculous. Now we will have to potentially field a second string 15 in a fallow week because the French team have not taken due care. There appears to be no penalty running a poor shielding program and no reward for doing it properly. Rather than postpone to the following week, let’s postpone to a time when both sides can field a full team and get the right result – it might even be the decider for the Six Nations.

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  3. It’s times like these where Dodson will step in, stand up for us and make this game happen at the correct time. We cannot afford to be push overs on this. It is their fault they have covid, they must not have been following protocols. The Scottish National set-up has been faultless on this to date.

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    • “It is their fault they have covid, they must not have been following protocols”

      Surely one of the most ignorant statements ever posted on this site.

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      • 9 players have it JW, that is NOT a coincidence. Their Head coach of all people being one of the first to contract it.

        I wish them good health and whatever, but we should not be the ones that suffer from this.

        We will miss over 10 players if it gets postponed to the following week in all likelyhood.

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      • Would that be the same WR where the SRU Chairman also heads up the Rugby Committee and the same 6N where the SRU Chairman is also Chairman (if you follow…)?

        Conflict of interest? “No” said the SRU Board, “no” said the SRU Rugby Council!

        Maybe time for the aforementioned multiple chairman to start earning some of that £100K corn he rakes in for being a chairman…..?

  4. I don’t understand all the science and lead-in times etc but the nightmare scenario would be to play the game and then the players bring the virus back here. On balance, it’s probably safer not to play

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