MX23RW : Tuesday, April 13 22:06:50| >> :600:1486504:1486504:
Mar 26, 2021 at 8pm UK
France
23-27
Scotland
Dulin (36'), Penaud (46'), Rebbadj (66')
FT
van der Merwe (15', 80'), Cherry (61')

Scotland looking forward to Six Nations clash with France

A coronavirus outbreak in Les Bleus squad had put the contest in doubt.

Scotland are "ready to go" after Sunday's Six Nations clash with France in Paris was given green light to go ahead as planned, says Murrayfield chief Mark Dodson.

The Stade de France showdown had been thrown into major doubt following a Covid-19 outbreak amongst Les Bleus squad.

But after a fresh round of negative test results, France have now been given the go ahead to host Gregor Townsend's squad.

The news will come as a relief to the Scotland coach, who feared he would be forced to do without 10 of his top stars if the game was postponed until next week.

"We're delighted that the game is going ahead," said Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Dodson. "It's important that we are allowed to prepare properly for that game.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend was concerned he would be without 10 of his top stars if Sunday's clash with France was delayed a week
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend was concerned he would be without 10 of his top stars if Sunday's clash with France was delayed a week (Adam Davy/PA)

"I was in Oriam (Scotland's training base) earlier this week and we've had a really good week's preparation for the game. All the boys want to play it and I'm delighted the French want to play it too.

"We made our case quite clear to the Six Nations about why we wanted the game played this Sunday and we look forward to a great contest. Touch wood, we're ready to go this Sunday."

Townsend was concerned he would be barred from selecting big-name figures like Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell by their English and French clubs if the game was moved to the fallow week.

But that prospect has been averted after another batch of negative test results from the French camp.

A Six Nations statement said: "Further to a meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) this morning to review the latest tests results of the French Squad, the Six Nations confirm the plans to stage the France v Scotland match as originally scheduled this coming Sunday.

Antoine Dupont
Antoine Dupont was among those to test positive (Brian Lawless/PA)

"We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are in regular contact with both unions."

France's outbreak has forced 10 of their top stars into quarantine, including star scrum-half and 2020 player of the championship Antoine Dupont and captain Charles Ollivon.

But the French Rugby Federation confirmed the remaining players had been given the all-clear on Wednesday morning.

The FFR said in a statement: "Following the RT-PCR tests carried out yesterday, Tuesday February 23, no new positive cases for Covid-19 have been identified.

"Tests will continue to be carried out daily until the France-Scotland meeting this Sunday."

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

But this weekend's clash was placed under threat when flanker Ollivon, prop Cyril Baille, hooker Peato Mauvaka, lock Romain Taofifenua and full-back Brice Dulin became the latest members of Fabien Galthie 's squad to test positive.

Nine of the 23-man squad that sent Ireland spinning to a 15-13 defeat have since been found to have contracted the virus.

After the victory in Dublin, the French Rugby Federation released footage on social media of the team celebrating in the changing room.

In addition to the positive tests produced by players on Monday, head coach Galthie is one of several members of France's management team to be self-isolating.

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Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit in action with Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe in the Six Nations on February 13, 2021
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