Scotland want to go ahead with France fixture

  • Rugby
  • Wednesday, 24 Feb 2021

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Italy vs Scotland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - March 17, 2018 Scotland’s Richie Gray celebrates at the end of the match REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scottish international Richie Gray said he and his team mates are keen to contest Sunday’s Six Nations Cup clash against France, which is under threat of being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ten France players, as well as several members of staff, including coach Fabien Galthie, returned positive COVID-19 tests last week, putting the international in jeopardy.

The players that tested positive have all been replaced in the 31-man squad for the clash at the Stade de France and the French Rugby Federation said on Tuesday there had been no further positive COVID-19 diagnosis among the playing squad or backroom staff, but a final decision on the match will be taken on Wednesday.

“We want the game to go ahead. Obviously it has to be safe to do so but I’m sure everyone involved will make sure that it’s a safe environment,” said the 31-year-old former British and Lions lock.

“There have been drips and drabs of news coming out about the game but we’ve been very focused on the job at hand. We’ve not spoken about it at training or in team meetings. It’s been business as usual.

“The focus is that the game will go ahead and we are preparing as such.”

If it does go ahead, Gray warned the challenge of beating France would remain as tough, even with the hosts missing key players.

“French rugby has crazy depth. A good example of that is the game against England in the Autumn Nations Cup where their side was dubbed a third team but went over to Twickenham and almost pulled off a victory. They can call up a lot of players, there’s a lot of talent and anytime you play France in France it’s going to be a really tough challenge,” he added.

Six Nations officials said over the weekend they were confident the game in Paris would go ahead. But organisers said on Monday their Testing Oversight Group reviewed the situation and would reconvene on Wednesday.

France lead the standings with two wins from two games, ahead of Wales on points difference, as they seek to lift the Six Nations title for the first time since 2010.

Scotland upset England in their opening match but then lost to Wales in their second match.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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