France v Scotland: Six Nations match unlikely to be next weekend after postponement

France's Matthieu Jalibert kicks the ball
France are favourites to win the Six Nations after victories against Italy and Ireland

Scotland's Six Nations match with France is unlikely to take place on the weekend of 6-7 March after a further Covid case in the home squad forced its postponement.

The game was due to be played on Sunday, despite 10 French players and some coaches testing positive, but it was announced an 11th player had the virus earlier on Thursday.

It had been expected the game would be pushed to the fallow week, but the whole France squad are now isolating and would not be available by then.

Organisers say a new date will be announced "in due course" and they are currently considering several options, including a midweek game in the week commencing 8 March, or the weekend of 27 March.

However, if the game takes place outside World Rugby's international window, Scotland could be missing more than 10 players as they will have to return to their clubs in England and France.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says he is disappointed but accepts the decision.

"We will wait to see what options are available to play," he said. "But it remains our position that we want all our eligible players available so we can compete to the level we would have this weekend."

Scotland sit fourth in the Six Nations table, having followed their historic victory against England at Twickenham with a one-point home loss to Wales, while unbeaten France top the standings.

France captain Charles Ollivon and star scrum-half Antoine Dupont are among those isolating after positive tests, along with head coach Fabien Galthie.

Galthie and another staff member were the first to test positive on 16 February and the virus has spread through the camp since.

Dupont tested positive a few days later, followed by wing Gabin Villiere and prop Mohamed Haouas.

Arthur Vincent, Julien Marchand, Ollivon, Brice Dulin, Cyril Baille, Romain Taofifenua, Peato Mauvaka and one other unnamed player have since contracted the virus.

Following this weekend's round of matches, the Six Nations is scheduled to take a two-week break before returning on 13 March.

Both sides will want the game played - analysis

Former Scotland, Castres and Montpellier forward Johnnie Beattie

For the credibility of the tournament, everybody wants to see it completed and it is a blow that Scotland against France will not go ahead this weekend.

The French media is saying it will potentially go ahead the week after France v Wales or on the end of the Top 14 season here, which is mid-June.

We are looking at late June-early July, but that obviously clashes with summer tours, like the Lions tour - there are loads of things in place.

It's not going to be easy and, if the sports minister has asked for an inquiry, as she has done, there is a reason behind it.

If it is the case that somebody has broken protocol, I could see a scenario where Scotland are gifted a 28-0 victory, but everybody wants to see the game going ahead.

If we want to get more blue players in that Lions squad, they need to be winning in Paris.

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