Even provided with their so-called ‘covid bubble‘ within the French rugby squad, it has still seen the France v Scotland fixture postponed after multiple positive Covid-19 test results were declared during last week.
Only affecting one team’s health mind you, but the call from organizers, and French and Scottish Rugby officials, meant the Round Three Guinness Six Nations match was postponed. A call which is similar to ones made in 2020, when the pandemic was interrupting rugby for the first time. Though, one year later in the Northern hemisphere, any postponement does not necessarily mean an easy-to-rescheduled match is at all possible.
No, because in 2021 the rugby-calendar is very full indeed. To the density that French Top14 club schedules may well have to be revised again so that [even possibly] France can host Scotland in the near future.
None of that dissuades all the disappointment felt by both sides. Players who are ready to peak for this important match, are now in limbo. Worse for Les Bleus, who have the virus to combat internally and the frustration of being on track themselves for a Grand Slam [two out of five victories in].
— Actu Rugby (@acturugby) February 25, 2021
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “While we fully accept the decision of the Testing Oversight Group to recommend postponing our match against France on medical grounds, it is disappointing not to be able to play this fixture on Sunday. We look forward to playing them at a future date.”
Scotland would have wanted to attempt to win back-to-back clashes in Paris on Sunday. Holding such a fine record, in a history of games dating back 110 years. So hope is that the game can be played but, played within the confines of Covid protocols.
‘Covid bubble’ unable to prevent France v Scotland from being postponed
This decision to postpone was taken on the unanimous advice of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group. The Six Nations Rugby official statement said: “the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) 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”. That judgment may ultimately see a replayed France v Scotland match urgently organized, but with a major rearrangement of both French Top14 fixtures, and the scheduled Guinness PRO14 final (Saturday, March 27).
Le journal de rugby, Midi Olympique has gone as far as defining a date, however, without agreement between the stakeholders, it does not benefit any party from promoting that as yet.
🚨 Information Midi Olympique 🚨
À la suite d’une réunion entre la LNR et la FFR, c’est la date du vendredi 26 mars qui a été retenue pour jouer le match reporté France – Écosse. Le Comité des 6 Nations en a été informé, l’Ecosse ne serait pas contre 👇👇https://t.co/mG3h60Xby2
— Midi Olympique (@midi_olympique) February 27, 2021
Placed in a very difficult situation, the welfare of the players is primal to the Six Nations competition. As found here, and in Gallagher Premiership fixtures, when positive cases are found, the total number of unfit players has an impact on whether a side can fulfill its obligations. Crucial in terms of all team sports, it has affected the NBA and EPL in recent weeks.
What some may be asking to begin this week is, how?
French Sports Minister looks to inquire into Covid-contamination of Bubble
SkySports in the UK has reported that French Minister of Sport, Roxana Maracineanu has stated: “If we don’t look into this chain of contaminations … then the authorization that has been given (to play in the Six Nations) can be withdrawn.”
When 11 members of the squad became infected, it becomes inherent of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) to properly investigate the origin of a Covid-19 outbreak. Who, what time, and if possible where it first occurred. Not to forcibly haul one or more players in front of the media but to reassure authorities that continuing to allow professional sport to continue, is a policy of choice.
Europe has been fortunate that in the darkest days of a huge pandemic threat, sportsmen and women continued to be free to participate. What Roxana Maracineauu and the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group must do, is to review that it can safely continue.
That is what fans want. They want to see France v Scotland [and the impact that has on the 2021 Championship], and what is beneficial to the nations, clubs, and all those associated businesses’ livelihoods.
In regards to the fixture, that is best left in the hands of the organizers. One wouldn’t be surprised if French clubs object to any changes to their calendars. Squeezed already, if replacements are brought into Le Bleus group, that too could create discontent.
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