France’s upcoming Six Nations match against Scotland, due to take place this Sunday, has been postponed after the French were forced to suspend training following another positive test for Covid-19 among their squad. The latest sequence of events comes after 10 players had tested positive earlier in the week.
According to the French Rugby Federation (FRF), who remain in constant contact with the Six Nations committee “the entire group is in isolation”, which proved to be too much for the game to go ahead as planned. The Six Nations were keen for the Stade de France clash to be played and released a statement on Wednesday, before this latest positive test. It read: "We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are in regular contact with both unions." However, this is now no longer the case and the tie has been postponed.
Following the latest positive case the FRF released their own statement, explaining: "Following the RT-PCR tests carried out this Wednesday 24 February 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.”
France, who sit top of the table and are now Betfred's 10/11 favourite to win the Six Nations having beaten Italy and Ireland in their first two fixtures, were already expected to miss several important players due to those that are isolating being unavailable to play.
Antoine Dupont, who has kept them ticking from scrum-half, and captain Charles Ollivon will be absent, while several others will now also potentially miss the tie. Coach Fabien Galthie, also isolating, has been conducting video seasons via video link and has had to call up several players to replace those who are unavailable. If they were to have taken to the field on Sunday, it would have been with a massively understrength outfit, meaning the integrity of the competition may have been affected.
For Scotland, it presents a problem after what has been a bright start to their Six Nations campaign. Their opening day win at Twickenham, their first in England since 1983, was followed by a devastating one-point loss at home to Wales, but there have been an awful lot of positives for Gregor Townsend’s men and they will want to get back playing after the rest weekend.
Elsewhere this weekend two games will go ahead, England travel to Wales while Italy host Ireland, but the postponement of France’s fixture is set to hang over the round three action and potentially affect the rest of the tournament.