France Six Nations camp report no new virus cases

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Virus-hit Les Bleus pictured in training before their win against Ireland

French rugby chiefs reported no fresh coronavirus cases in the camp on Friday after their Six Nations match against Scotland was postponed.

The game, which had been scheduled for Sunday at the Stade de France in Paris, will be rescheduled after a 12th Les Bleus player contracted Covid-19.

There have been a total of 16 positive tests in the French camp since the team returned from beating Ireland in Dublin on February 14.

A French Rugby Federation (FFR) statement said "following tests taken on Thursday all the results were negative".

"Apart from the previously identified cases, there are therefore no new positive Covid-19 cases," it added.

Tournament organisers announced on Thursday that a new date for the game would be announced "in due course" after having stated the previous day that it would go ahead.

Squad training had already been cancelled and the entire French group placed in isolation.

The championship leaders, chasing a first title since 2010, were due to face Scotland without more than half the XV that had seen off Italy 50-10 in Rome and edged past Ireland 15-13.

Among those testing positive were star scrum-half Antoine Dupont, captain Charles Ollivon and coach Fabien Galthie.

The 16th case was identified as La Rochelle prop Uini Atonio, the 12th player to contract the disease.

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has demanded FFR president Bernard Laporte launch an investigation into the outbreak in Galthie's squad.

Infectious disease specialist Eric Caumes, who is a member of the medical commission of the FFR, told AFP that the virus probably entered the French team bubble through a member of the national Sevens team.

"We know that, in the France Sevens team, there is a player who tested positive and that the contact was probably made like that," he said, adding that it would not "compromise" the rest of the Six Nations.

"From the moment a person enters the bubble and is contagious, all the conditions are met for contamination to occur easily.

"They followed the protocol to the letter. The protocol does not impose a quarantine before entering the bubble because it is impossible and incompatible with the clubs and their obligations."

This weekend's other fixtures -- Italy v Ireland and Wales v England -- are going ahead as planned.

France are scheduled to travel to England for a match on March 13, with Wales visiting Paris a week later.

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