New date yet to be confirmed for postponed France v Scotland rugby match but March 26 looking likely
Scotland’s postponed Six Nations match against France now looks set to be played at the end of this month.
Reports suggest that game, due to have been played last Sunday, February 28, but called off due to a coronavirus outbreak among French players and coaches, will be rescheduled for Friday, March 26.
That’s six days after what was expected to be the concluding round five of the tournament on Saturday, March 20, with Scotland hosting Italy on that date and France at home to Wales.
Because that later date falls outside the international window previously agreed with club sides, talks are ongoing to secure the release of players, but it is understood that the English and French top-flight leagues are agreeable to making them available.
A dozen front-line French players including captain Charles Ollivon and previous player of the championship Antoine Dupont tested positive for Covid-19 last month ahead of the weekend’s scheduled game, as did manager Fabien Galthie, forcing them to go into isolation.
The rearranged match could potentially be a title decider and might even see France, unbeaten so far, claim their first grand slam since 2010, so both sides are keen to secure full access to players.
Some 13 players in the Scottish squad are based in England, including captain Stuart Hogg, with Finn Russell playing in France for Racing 92, so head coach Gregor Townsend is reliant on the goodwill of Premiership chiefs south of the border to be able to field a full-strength team.
“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,” said Galashiels-born Townsend.
“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.
“We wish all the French players and staff affected by Covid well in their recovery and look forward to playing them at a future date.”
Confirmation of a revised date is expected by the end of this week once arrangements have been finalised.
It had previously been suggested that the game be played this coming weekend or, alternatively, even as late in the year as July, four months after all the tournament’s other games.
France's next game is away to England on Saturday, March 13, with Scotland due to host Ireland the day after.