France-Scotland Six Nations clash postponed due to further coronavirus case

Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations trip to Paris on Sunday has been postponed after France reported another positive coronavirus case among their playing squad.

The game has been in major doubt all week following an outbreak among Fabien Galthie’s tournament favourites.

Organisers ordered daily testing before announcing on Wednesday that this weekend’s Stade de France clash would go ahead following a full sweep of negatives results.

But less than 24 hours later they have been forced to shelve the Saint-Denis showdown, with the entire Les Bleus squad placed into quarantine after the French Rugby Federation reported an 11th player had contracted the virus.

The news will come as a major blow to Gregor Townsend’s Scots, who fear they will be without 10 of their biggest stars if the game is moved to a date outside of the international window.

The France Rugby team was keen to follow up the win over Ireland. Credit: PA

The Six Nations said in a statement: “The Six Nations Testing Oversight Group met today to review the situation in the French camp.

“They unanimously recommended the postponement of the France v Scotland match. This will be ratified later today by the Six Nations council.

“We will be working on the rescheduling of this fixture and will communicate the date in due course.”

Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson declared yesterday that Townsend’s team were “ready to go”.

But before Townsend could even name his team for Sunday’s clash, it had been called off.

France were forced to suspend their training session on Thursday morning after the latest positive result came to light.

In a statement, the FFR said: “Following the RT-PCR tests carried out this Wednesday, February 24 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 this day.

“The entire group is in isolation in accordance with health protocol. The FFR is in close contact with the Six Nations committee.”

A string of France’s biggest names were forced to self-isolate earlier this week, including scrum-half and 2020 player of the championship Antoine Dupont and captain Charles Ollivon.

Les Bleus stand top the Six Nations table after two rounds following a comprehensive win against Italy and a narrow victory over Ireland, both away from home.

But concerns over this weekend’s clash going ahead emerged when flanker Ollivon, prop Cyril Baille, hooker Peato Mauvaka, lock Romain Taofifenua and full-back Brice Dulin became the latest members of Galthie’s squad to test positive on Monday.

Nine of the 23-man squad that beat Ireland 15-13 in their last game were since found to have contracted the virus.

In addition to positive tests produced by players, head coach Galthie is among members of France’s management team in self-isolation.

Next weekend has already been suggested as a possible back-up date for the match but Townsend is worried as many as 10 of his top performers – including Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell – will be barred from playing by their English and French club sides.