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Scotland fear more than 10 players could be unavailable if France game is rescheduled

France have registered 14 Covid cases since their victory in Dublin eight days ago, meaning Sunday’s fixture is now in danger.

Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

Updated Feb 22nd 2021, 9:40 PM

SCOTLAND FEAR MORE than 10 of their players could be made unavailable should their Six Nations fixture with France this weekend be rescheduled in light of a Covid-19 outbreak in the French camp.

Tournament bosses will decide on Wednesday whether the game can go ahead as scheduled but the Scottish rugby union cited its player-release agreement with clubs outside of its jurisdiction as the potential cause of further complication in the event of a postponement, saying it will “press the case” for the game to take place this Sunday.

A further five French players, including captain Charles Ollivon, tested positive for the virus on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the French camp to 14.

Those players have now left France’s training base at Marcoussis while the remainder of the squad and all staff will be tested every day ahead of Sunday’s game in Paris.

If the game cannot be played as scheduled this weekend, it will be “rescheduled for the earliest possible date”, tournament organisers said.

“A meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) took place today to review the situation in France in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak in the French team,” a statement read.

“The TOG was advised by the French Rugby Union representative that all players who returned to the National Training Centre yesterday were tested on arrival and put in isolation pending results.

“All five players who tested positive have now left the training base.

“The rest of the squad, all of whom tested negative are training with restricted movement and no close contact for the next 48 hours. All players and staff will be tested every 24 hours.

“The TOG will reconvene on Wednesday 24 February in the evening to review the situation. A decision on whether the France v Scotland fixture can go ahead will be made at that stage. Ensuring the health and safety of all players and staff is our number one priority. Should the decision be that the fixture cannot go ahead, the match will be rescheduled for the earliest possible date.

“Six Nations would like to wish all affected players, coaches, and support team a speedy recovery.”

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charles-ollivon France skipper Charles Ollivon is among those to have tested positive for Covid-19. Source: Dave Winter/INPHO

Scottish Rugby released its own statement on Monday evening in which the national union expressed its hope that the game can go ahead as planned within the existing tournament schedule “should it be medically safe” for it to do so.

The statement indicated that moving the fixture to a non-Six Nations weekend could present its own complications for the Scots, several members of whose squad — including captain Stuart Hogg and starting out-half Finn Russell — could conceivably find themselves in a tug of war between their national side and their club employers outside of Scotland.

“Scotland’s national team are continuing their preparations to play France in Paris this Sunday,” the statement began. “Our players, coaches and fans hope that the game can go ahead as planned in the existing tournament schedule.

“Any postponement will have an impact on the player release agreement in place with clubs, which could see more than 10 Scotland players unavailable for selection if the game is rearranged.

“We will be working closely with our Six Nations counterparts to press the case for this week’s game to go ahead, should it medically safe to do so.”

– Originally published at 4:53pm; updated with Scottish Rugby statement at 9:40pm.

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Niall Kelly

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