France v Scotland postponed after new COVID-19 case

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - 2023 Rugby World Cup Draw - Palais Brongniart, Paris, France - December 14, 2020 Vice-Chairman of World Rugby Bernard Laporte during the draw REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Six Nations game against Scotland was postponed after another player tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number infected to 11, organisers said on Thursday.

The Six Nations said in a statement that its Testing Oversight Group had met on Thursday to review the situation in the French camp and unanimously recommended the postponement of Sunday's match.

The statement added that the Six Nations would look to reschedule the fixture and would communicate the date in due course.

The French federation (FFR) had said earlier on Thursday that the entire French squad was in isolation and training had been suspended ahead of the game.

France had resumed contact training on Wednesday but the FFR had said it would conduct daily COVID-19 testing until Sunday, and one player returned a positive test on Wednesday night.

Several members of staff, including head coach Fabien Galthie, also returned positive tests last week.

"It's always hard to know the origin (of the outbreak)," FFR president Bernard Laporte told France Info radio on Thursday, before the latest case was announced.

"I would like to know. Of course it is something that worries me. I would like to know if someone is at fault, or not. We are going to investigate this ourselves to see how we got there."

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said the postponement was a disappointment.

“We have had a good week with our players who were focussed and ready to represent their country in Paris and continue our progress in this year’s Six Nations," he said.

“Throughout this tournament, and the previous Autumn Nations Cup, we have worked hard to maintain strict COVID protocols which have enabled us to select our strongest possible teams for these important international fixtures.

“We will wait to see what options are available to play this match against France, but it remains our position that we want to have all our eligible players available to us for that fixture, so we can compete to the level we would have done this weekend," he added.

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, the year of their last Grand Slam.

Scotland upset England at Twickenham in their opening game of this year's competition but then lost by one point at home to Wales in their second match.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Additional reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Alison Williams/Peter Rutherford/Timothy Heritage/Toby Davis)

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