Sun 21 Feb 2021 | 06:45

France's COVID setbacks piling up

France's COVID setbacks piling up
Sun 21 Feb 2021 | 06:45
France's COVID setbacks piling up
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NEWS: France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont was on Sunday omitted from the squad to face Scotland in the Six Nations as COVID-19 cases continued to multiply in the camp.

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Dupont, who tested positive on Friday, was left off the list of 31 players for next Sunday’s game in Paris.

The French Rugby Federation also said that hooker Julien Marchand and centre Arthur Vincent had tested positive on Saturday, taking the number of cases in the squad to nine, including coach Fabien Galthie.

Dupont, the Six Nations player of the season last year, is reportedly asymptomatic and could, in theory, have observed a seven-day quarantine and returned for the game next Sunday at Stade de France.

The French government is increasing the length of quarantine to 10 days from Monday.

Marchand and Vincent were also dropped from the 31 as were prop Mohamed Haouas and wing Gabin Villiere who tested positive this past Friday.

The FFR said on Saturday that two other potential squad members, lock Swan Rebbadj and prop Jean-Baptiste Gros, both of Toulon, had been in contact with known positive coronavirus cases at their club.

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France is top of the Six Nations table after victories against Italy and Ireland.

Dupont was named player of the second round for his performance in the 15-13 win in Dublin on February 14.

Dupont, Haouas, Vincent, Marchand and Villiere started both games. Gros came off the bench in Rome.

In total, Les Bleus made seven changes as the squad reassembled at Marcoussis on Sunday.

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Dorian Aldegheri of Toulouse and Racing 92 pair Teddy Baubigny and Hassane Kolingar, who between them have 10 caps, came into the front row. Uncapped Bordeaux Begles scrum half Maxime Lucu comes in for Dupont.

Centres Jonathan Danty of Stade Francais and Yoram Moefana of Bordeaux Begles and uncapped wing Donovan Taofifenua of Racing 92 also joined the squad.

After negotiations with the clubs and the government, France assembled a squad of 31 in a bubble in Nice at the end of January, but, along with other nations, decided to allow their players a break in the Six Nations bye week.

Before the players returned to France’s Marcoussis training centre, they underwent tests.

The FFR announced on Saturday that Karim Ghezal, one of two forward coaches, had tested positive. The other forwards coach, William Servat, tested positive earlier in the week.

Galthie tested positive on Tuesday.

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France's COVID setbacks piling up - france | Rugby365