France v Scotland: English club’s statement and what it means for Six Nations clash

The likelihood of Scotland players being released by English clubs for Friday’s rearranged Guinness Six Nations match with France has received a boost from Worcester Warriors.

Scotland back-row forward Cornell du Preez. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scotland back-row forward Cornell du Preez. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The Gallagher Premiership club have issued a statement saying they are prepared to make their forward Cornell du Preez available for the match in Paris, provided they are compensated.

Worcester said that “like other Premiership clubs, [they] will support the Scottish RU in releasing players provided it is on the same financial terms as English players are released to the RFU”.

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Gregor Townsend, the Scotland coach, admitted on Thursday that he was still in the dark over whether Scotland players based in England and France would be released for the game at the Stade de France on March 26.

The fixture falls outside the designated international window meaning clubs are under no obligation to make their players available to national sides.

Several members of the Scotland squad are based in England including captain Stuart Hogg and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner; Bath’s Jamie Bhatti; Gloucester’s Chris Harris and Alex Craig; Harlequins’ James Lang and Scott Steele and Saracens’ Sean Maitland and Duncan Taylor. In addition, Finn Russell plays his club rugby in France for Racing 92.

Worcester said in a statement: “Worcester Warriors can confirm that the club will release Cornell du Preez for international duty if he is called up for next weekend’s re-arranged Guinness Six Nations match against France in Paris.

“Warriors, like other Premiership clubs, will support the Scottish RU in releasing players provided it is on the same financial terms as English players are released to the RFU.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has required flexibility and adaptability in all areas of life and we would always support our players in achieving their ambitions of playing at the highest level possible.”

The France v Scotland match was originally due to be played on February 28 but was postponed three days beforehand because of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the French camp.

The rearranged date was only confirmed on Thursday evening in a brief statement issued by Six Nations organisers.

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