France v Scotland: Scots should not be punished by postponement – Gregor Townsend

Head coach is concerned about not having his English-based players available in re-arranged fixture

Gregor Townsend believes Scotland should not de disadvantaged by Sunday's match being postponed. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Gregor Townsend believes Scotland should not de disadvantaged by Sunday's match being postponed. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has called on Six Nations Rugby to make sure that he can have all his leading players available to play against France, whenever the match is re-arranged.

The round three clash, which was supposed to be played on Sunday, had to be postponed earlier today due to an on-going Covid outbreak in the French camp.

Rescheduling the match for next weekend could leave Scotland short of around 10 English-based players, including captain Stuart Hogg and second-row stalwart Jonny Gray (because of World Rugby’s Regulation Nine protocol which identifies specific windows in which clubs must release players  for international duty). As it stands, Finn Russell has been released by his club, Racing 92, for the entirety of the Six Nations window.

Meanwhile, reports in France have indicated that a date in July could be an option, although that would clash with the Lions tour if it goes ahead.


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“While we fully accept the decision of the Testing Oversight Group to recommend postponing our match against France on medical grounds, it is disappointing not to be able to play this fixture on Sunday,” said Townsend.

“We have had a good week with our players who were focussed and ready to represent their country in Paris and continue our progress in this year’s Guinness Six Nations.

“Throughout this tournament, and the previous Autumn Nations Cup, we have worked hard to maintain strict Covid protocols which have enabled us to select our strongest possible teams for these important international fixtures.

“We will wait to see what options are available to play this match against France, but it remains our position that we want to have all our eligible players available to us for that fixture, so we can compete to the level we would have done this weekend.

“We wish all the French players and staff affected by Covid well in their recovery and look forward to playing them at a future date.”


France v Scotland: Six Nations announce that game is postponed

 

 

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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.

13 Comments

  1. If the French players did break covid rules and yhe ‘bubble’followig the Italy game then they shoud have the diadvantage of using reserve players in the Scottish game! rather than cancel ad disrupt the whole competition !!

  2. If the boot had been on the other foot!!! France would have demanded the game be played with Scottish reservists. Ah well politics again in a sport!!!

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  3. One small consolation for Scottish fans is that at least when the French match is rescheduled, Zander Fagerson will be able to play.

  4. From a Scottish perspective there is at least one silver lining from this postponement; Zander Fagerson is likely to only miss 2 international matches.

  5. Methinks Toony is having a dig at the French anti-covid protocols by saying “Throughout this tournament, and the previous Autumn Nations Cup, we have worked hard to maintain strict Covid protocols which have enabled us to select our strongest possible teams for these important international fixtures.” and who can blame him?

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  6. I assume there were Covid contingency plans agreed by all teams as part of the tournament, before the tournament started… what were these contingency plans? whatever they were, they should be followed… if they said forfeit the game, then the game should be forfeit, if they said reschedule – then reschedule – its about parity and fairness – that is all.

  7. I think for me its about consistency. World Rugby has governance over all international competitions and the Autumn Nations had a very different ruleset in relation to Covid. There is no consistency in that…

  8. The people arguing for Scotland to be awarded a win please factor in the financial situation.
    Remember this is the “sports entertainment business” we are talking about – it is all one big circus, and we are mere consumers.

    So either:
    Match not played and awarded to Scotland = TV income generated £0 (big fat zero)
    or
    Match rescheduled = TV income generated $$$$$$$’s

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    • I am not sure your assertion regarding loss of Tv. revenue is quite as simple as you suggest. The contract for televising the 6N fixtures will be for the tournament rather than an individual fixture and will be for the individual broadcasters involved, French Tv for the matches in Paris, Italian for games in Rome and so on with some form of agreement to ‘Pool’ the picture.
      The match is being played in Paris therefor the owners of the advertising contract around the perimeter of the ground will be the ones that perhaps loose revenue, but that is not certain as increasingly major stadia sell the perimeter space for a season or a year and as such not individual fixtures.
      The exception will be if the ground holds an event such as a European Cup final with teams to be decided and then they will sell that game on a Game by Game basis and allow existing advertiser to opt in with additional payment.
      The problem of ‘stuffing’ a fixture in here or there is that there are too many people chasing the ‘Rugby £/€ and whether you have 100 slices or 10 the size of the cake is the same.
      That is why Gregor Townsend is correctly saying if the fixture date changes it better be a date that offers equivalence.

    • I am outraged how this situation has been managed but I don’t want to be awarded a win. It would invalidate any success in the tournament and is a rubbish way for a grand slam to be derailed. France could lose the championship without ‘losing’ a game.

      I just want any postponement to be at a time that is within release windows so it is a fair test match.

      It is unfortunate we may play in Paris packed out with fans if it is delayed for many months as other games have not been with gone advantage, but I’d rather try to beat France and it be meaningful than a meaningless forfeit game.

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      • One small consolation for Scottish fans is that at least when the French match is rescheduled, Zander Fagerson will be able to play.

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