France v Scotland gets the green light to go ahead on Sunday

The Guinness Six Nations showdown between France and Scotland will take place on Sunday as scheduled.

Scotland winger Darcy Graham in action against France during the 2019 Six Nations at the Stade de France. Picture: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

Tournament organisers met on Wednesday morning to review the latest Covid-19 test results from the French camp then gave the green light to the game in Paris.

An outbreak amongst the tournament favourites’ squad had produced 10 positive cases, including star scrum-half and 2020 player of the championship Antoine Dupont and captain Charles Ollivon.

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However, there have been no new positives over the last 48 hours.

A statement from the Six Nations said: “Further to a meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) this morning to review the latest tests results of the French Squad, the Six Nations confirm the plans to stage the France v Scotland match as originally scheduled this coming Sunday. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are in regular contact with both unions.”

Scottish Rugby had pushed for the game to be played this weekend and chief executive Mark Dodson declared himself satisfied with the decision.

“We are delighted that the game’s going ahead, he said. “It’s important that we are allowed to prepare properly for it. I was in Oriam earlier this week and preparations have been very good. All the boys want to play and the French want to play too.

“We made our case quite clear to the Six Nations about why we wanted the game to be played this Sunday. We look forward to a great contest.”

In a press release published on Wednesday morning, the French rugby federation (FFR) said that all players and management tested on Tuesday evening were negative.

It follows on from another round of all-negative tests on Monday evening.

“Following the RT-PCR tests carried out on Tuesday evening, all the players and management tested negative for Covid-19,” the FFR said.

It stressed that “no new case has been identified for 48 hours”. A similar announcement was made on Tuesday morning.

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France top the table after two rounds following a comprehensive win over Italy and a narrow victory against Ireland, both away from home.

Flanker Ollivon, prop Cyril Baille, hooker Peato Mauvaka, lock Romain Taofifenua and full-back Brice Dulin were the five new cases uncovered to place the visit of Scotland to Paris in doubt.

Dupont, hooker Julien Marchand, prop Mohammed Haouas, centre Arthur Vincent and winger Gabin Villiere, previously tested positive for the virus.

It means that nine of the 23-man squad that beat Ireland have tested positive.

After the victory in Dublin, the French rugby federation released footage on social media of the team celebrating in the changing room.

In addition to the positive tests produced by players on Monday, head coach Fabien Galthie is one of several members of France’s management team self-isolating.

Six Nations organisers said on Monday that they would consider postponing the match.

Any attempts to play the game on the following weekend could have had a detrimental effect on Scotland as the match would have fallen outside the international window, meaning clubs would have first call on the players.

Thirteen members of Gregor Townsend’s squad are based in England, including captain Stuart Hogg, Jonny Gray, Chris Harris, James Lang and Sean Maitland.

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