France’s XV: Match against Scotland postponed after a new positive Covid-19 case

Le sélectionneur de l'équipe d'Ecosse de rugby, Gregor Townsend et le demi d'ouverture Finn Russell, avant le match du Tournoi des Six nations contre l'Angleterre, le 6 février 2021 à Londres (AFP/Archives - Adrian DENNIS)

Sunday’s Six Nations tournament match between France and Scotland was postponed on Thursday after a new positive case of Covid-19 was detected in the French ranks, already severely ravaged by the coronavirus. I went.

In a meeting late on Thursday, the six-nation Test Monitoring Group (TOG) “unanimously recommended the postponement of the France-Scotland match,” the organizing committee said in a statement. Now working on a new date.

A day earlier, the organizers had put the match on the scheduled date in the absence of a new case of Covid-19 in the French selection during tests conducted on Monday and Tuesday evening.

But final tests conducted on Wednesday made it possible to trace a newly contaminated player, whose identity was not disclosed by the French Rugby Federation (FFR).

This brings the number of confirmed positive cases in the blue squad to sixteen since the start of last week: twelve players and four members of management, including coach Fabian Galthy.

The FFR therefore decided on Thursday to suspend training and “isolate the entire group as per health protocol”, while canceling the scheduled 2:30 pm press point by video-conferencing with players and staff members Gone.

Initially, 31 players from the France group had to stage a so-called “high-intensity” protest at the National Rugby Center in Marcos (Yvelines), a crucial moment in preparation, which outlines a group of twenty-three players selected . match.

– what date? –

Started like a dream, with success in Italy (50-10), especially in Ireland (15-13) – first in Dublin in ten years – 2021 campaign turned into a nightmare since the appearance of this cluster has gone.

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But France’s XV, the leader in the standings and looking for the first title in the tournament since 2010, has at least avoided the worst-case scenario: losing a match on the green carpet.

Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend and opening half Finn Russell before a Six Nations tournament match against England in London on February 6, 2021 (AFP/Archives – Adrian Dennis)

Will have to see when the match can be held. Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said on Thursday that he wants to take advantage of his best players to “be able to play at the same level as this weekend”.

During the week, the Scottish Federation had already expressed strong opposition about a possible postponement of matches on 6 or 7 March, with many players gathering at the club that weekend.

France’s XV reported the two first cases on Tuesday, 16 February, two days after its success in Ireland. One positive, of a member of technical staff, in this case a physical trainer, whose identity has not been specified.

The other “doubtful and not proven” related Fabian Galthy. After a fresh test conducted during the day, the coach was found positive.

The cases were then chained in a cascade with twelve infected players, including eight holders. They are captain and third in line Charles Olivan, scrum half Antoine Dupont, full back Bryce Dulin, winger Gabin Villier, center Arthur Vincent, left pillar Cyril Bailey, right pillar Mohamed Haus and hooker Julian Marchand.

– Investigation –

Among the substitutes, second-rowers Romain Taofifenua and Baptiste Pesenti as well as hooker Peito Mouwaka are also worried about positive tests, as well as two other members of staff, forward coach William Servat and Vijay Karim’s co-coach Ghazzal.

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How could the health situation be worse when the XV of France had put himself in a “bubble” since the start of his preparations in Nice at the end of January?

Sports Minister Roxana Maracinenu on Wednesday asked FFR president Bernard Laporte to launch an investigation. The minister also asked the Ministry of Health within the XV of France to “understand how the chain of contamination was created”.

The inquiry has to be submitted within eight days.

“It’s always hard to know the origin. We don’t know anywhere. I’d love to know that, to tell you the truth. It’s something that worries me and I really want to know if anyone has it wrong, Quite simply,” Laporte said on France Info’s microphone on Thursday morning.

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