Virus-hit France-Scotland Six Nations match set for March 26

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Scotland will hope fly-half Finn Russell is available to face France in a re-arranged Six Nations fixture

France's delayed Six Nations match at home to Scotland will now be played on March 26, six days after the scheduled end of the tournament, organisers said Thursday.

Originally planned to take place in Paris on February 28, the third-round tie was postponed after France recorded 16 positive Covid-19 cases among their set-up.

A brief statement said: "Six Nations Rugby has confirmed the rescheduled France v Scotland fixture as follows: Date: Friday 26th March 2021. Time: 9pm (French time), 8pm (UK Time). Venue: Stade de France."

That means both France and Scotland will play three Six Nations matches in as many weeks.

But as the new date falls outside the tournament's designated 'window', clubs are not obliged to release players, as would have been the case had the match gone ahead as scheduled.

That could pose a problem for Scotland given that both captain Stuart Hogg and lock Jonny Gray play for English Premiership and European champions Exeter.

A Premiership spokesperson told AFP that no agreement over player release had yet been reached, a position confirmed by Scotland.

France's Top 14 clubs are expected to allow their Les Bleus stars to play in the game, although it is not yet clear whether Paris-based Racing 92 will make Scotland star Finn Russell available.

Meanwhile, a source with knowledge of the discussions said talks between the Six Nations and the Premiership over player release were still ongoing.

A problem for the Premiership, not to mention their commercial partners, broadcasters and fans, is that they have league games scheduled for next weekend, with Exeter away to southwest rivals Gloucester on the very same Friday that now sees France in action against Scotland.

Russell has been ruled out of Scotland's match against Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday with concussion suffered in last week's 27-24 loss to Ireland.

France are also playing on Saturday, in Paris, when they will try to maintain their title hopes by denying Wales a Grand Slam.

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