France v Scotland: France suspend training after another positive Covid test result

Sunday's Six Nations clash against Scotland in Paris has been thrown into fresh doubt

There has been another positive Covid test result in the French camp ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash against Scotland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
There has been another positive Covid test result in the French camp ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash against Scotland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

FRANCE have suspended training and the squad has returned into isolation following another positive Covid result from the round of testing which took place on Wednesday night, throwing into fresh doubt the prospect of Sunday’s Six Nations clash against Scotland in Paris going ahead as planned.

This most recent positive test takes the total number of players to have contracted virus to 11, plus Baptiste Pesenti who tested positive with his club before he joined the squad, after being called up as emergency cover on Sunday night. Four members of the backroom team have also tested positive.

The Six Nations Test Oversight Group gave Sunday’s match the go-ahead yesterday [Wednesday] lunchtime following two days of negative test results, but stated that they would continue to monitor the situation, with the French squad to be tested every 24 hour until match-day.

A statement issued by Fédération Française de Rugby [FFR] said:

Following the RT-PCR tests carried out this Wednesday, February 24 in the evening and the appearance of a positive case within the squad of players, the FFR Medical Committee met this morning and decided to suspend training. this day.

The entire group is in isolation in accordance with health protocol. The FFR is in close contact with the 6 Nations Committee.


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2306 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. Is there an argument for playing the match on Sunday as both teams will then be able to test and isolate before the next round of matches in 2 weeks. Seems preferable to the alternatives (if there are any). This disadvantages France in this case but we have already taken the approach in Rugby (certainly in Europe) of apportioning “blame” (not a word i’m comfortable with at all)

  2. If there is evidence the French have been at fault in their COVID protocols then by all means it should be a default win to us. If not, the match should be postponed to a suitable international window. I have huge admiration for Japan in the way they wanted to settle the Typhoon Hagibis game on the pitch and hope we can do the same.

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    • But there is no postponement date that doesn’t disadvantage Scotland in oneway or another, nor make sense: with the best will in the world, just what date do you suggest they postpone the fixture to? Next week offers no more security to the Scottish Camp with a view to the Wuhan-lurgy being obviously on the increase in Paris, France in general and also I believe Germany have closed the French border, and it would be farcical to postpone to any other date with the 6N schedule extended beyond the final weekend of 3 back to back fixtures.
      It’s the professional game now and any suggestion ‘ Oh it will be a hollow victory if we get 5 default points’ is, to put it mildly, crud.
      As contributor Garry mentioned the incubation time is such that next weekend would be doubtful as well. So it is time for the SRU to be hardnosed and say if it isn’t safe with infections this week and in all probability next with the other disadvantages to player availability, we’ll take the 5 points please. Done and dusted.
      And consider this. What about next week and the French turn up with a full squad and because the SRU were not hard nosed to the 6N and accepted the moved date and then lost half a dozen players that are not released, is that equitable?
      The FFR are in a demonstrably worse position than Fiji in the Autumn Internationals and if the FFR were content to get a default bonus win then, they can hardly gripe about Scotland getting a default bonus win now.
      What goes around comes round.

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      • Hi George – I did say postpone to an international window so next week would be off the cards. In answer to your question, personally I would suggest summer (if the Lions tour is called off) or autumn. The 6N games have always been completed regardless of COVID and foot-and-mouth. I think that’s more relevant precedent than the 8N tournament, which was really a bit of ad hoc ‘filler’.

      • Perhaps the tournament was an ad hoc filler, but I get the feeling that whatever is decided it will not be to our advantage unless of course someone at the SRU makes sure the 6N offer up an equatable solution.
        But where is the sense in leaving the 6N open till later in the year it makes a farce of making up the default bonus point win solution in the first place. If the rule of default points if the other team can’t operate the fixture in a safe environment or put up a lurgy free team then impose the rule don’t bend over backwards for the FFR when the cynic in me suggests that if it was the other way around 5 points would be winging their way to the FFR as I type.

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      • Hi George – I don’t believe that is the rule in the 6N. If a game is postponed for H&S reasons it is rescheduled for another date. That has happened on several occasions in the past. As you say, any solution should be equitable e.g. if it requires the organisers to pay a release fee to English clubs then so be it.

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    • If the default position is rearrange rather than default points I stand corrected however my original concern is when? The fixture schedule and the demands for profit have changed the position drastically. I have no doubt the Lions tour will go ahead in some fashion but the Unions versus the Clubs and all the other Media factors and money and the all round credibility of different factions wanting different outcomes, it is a mess and what about the 6N surely you can’t leave it open till some time in the future to determine who wins and the runner up positions. Surely it has to be a decision under the circumstances for France to forfeit the fixture. As was mentioned in a previous post Dupont and Galthie were seen at an event and didn’t appear to be sticking to the protocol.
      Any way its out of our hands and we probably agree to differ on the allotted points argument.

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      • If France have breached protocols then that’s a totally different kettle of fish. Forfeiture or even docked points would then seem reasonable depending on the severity of the breach.

  3. Well my concerns that there may be more test failures between the go ahead yesterday and the game on Sunday seem to have been answered.
    It isn’t just this game that is a concern for the Scottish Camp, it is the ever increasing possibility, I would say likelihood of contagion in our Camp and the resultant disadvantage for our last two fixtures, even a cursory glance at the Covid information as it is in Paris shows that restrictions are being increased not decreased.
    Vigilance is required along with a bit of hard nosed common sense, frankly as far as I am concerned whether it’s a bonus win on the field or by default what goes around comes round as the FFR discovered when they were gifted a bonus point win when Fiji with a much lesser problem than appears to be the case in the French camp was identified.

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  4. I’d be tempted to favour the game being postponed. It would really take the shine off a Scottish win so the potential glory would be a little hollow. From the France PoV they had a hard time accepting defeat from us last year, doubt they’d take this scenario any better.

    Saying that, whatever team France field it will be a formidable one and a major challenge to Scotland.

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    • However a postponement can only realistically be the following weekend and that offers a double disadvantage, firstly the likelihood that contagion is still in an around the French squad and that will effect us for the following fixtures and secondly the strong possibility that player Club contracts will be brought into force.
      Frankly looking at that prospect I would take the default points and disregard any suggestion of a hollow victory, as a Soccer Pundit once said ‘It’s a tough old World Saint’ and with that thought in mind if the problem was the other way around the FFR wouldn’t think twice and take the default points without any thought of hollow victories. It is as we are constantly reminded a professional game now and the Corinthian spirit is [for better or worse] no longer a priority.

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      • I don’t see how you can go ahead next weekend either.

        The incubation period is reckoned to be up to 10 days, so any positive test from today surely rules next weekend out too? Unless France use players that haven’t potentially been exposed to those cases.

      • “if the problem was the other way around the FFR wouldn’t think twice and take the default points without any thought of hollow victories”

        Based on what evidence other than your own deeply unpleasant prejudices?

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      • The evidence of your own post suggest otherwise George.

        I thought post-Trump intelligent people had realised that just because you say something that you want to be true doesn’t mean it is true.

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