He is very small and deceitful but he has already done more damage in the XV of France than the strong Italian then Irish. The Covid virus has already managed to disqualify five indisputable holders (Antoine Dupont, Gabin Villière, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand and Arthur Vincent) for the reception of Scotland next Sunday during the third day of the Six Nations Tournament. And above all, he will make hover all week over Marcoussis a big uncertainty on the behavior of the match. Is it just bad luck? Is it enough “of an infected doorknob” as supported by the general manager of the XV of France Raphaël Ibanez on Sunday evening at Stage 2.
How did we get here ?
The staff affected before the players … Officially, the health bubble around the Blues was tight. But on Tuesday February 16, we learned that coach Fabien Galthié was positive for Covid. The day before, he went to the Oscars of the Midi Olympique newspaper, without a mask and without social distancing alongside Antoine Dupont … And quickly, over the tests, the positive cases followed one another at the speed of the French trials against the Italy: therefore five players (plus two contact cases) and four staff members.
The thesis of contamination by the French rugby team, some of which had played sparring partners before the trip to Ireland, is advanced. A logical explanation because the Blues at 7 have experienced positive cases in their workforce. The problem for the XV of France is that the first positive cases come from the staff (Galthié and his deputies Servat and Ghezal). Plus a fourth name that the Federation surprisingly does not reveal. Could this unknown positive be the one that introduced the virus to the Blues? On France 2 Sunday evening, the general manager of the Blues, did not give an explanation. “Nobody can know”, replied Raphaël Ibanez recalling that there is no “French exception in this matter since the English coach was also affected”.
Will there be other positive cases among the Blues?
No one knows. If it weren’t for the Tournament in sight, the health rule would have been simple: everyone at home and placed in isolation with 31 potential contact cases. There, the FFR is sailing on sight, replacing only the five positive players and the contact cases. The health bubble put in place around the teammates of Captain Charles Ollivon cracked even if the Ministry of Sports very early on let it be known that the health rules specific to the Tournament had been respected.
The Federation carried out new tests on Sunday, February 20, the results of which will fall on Monday. If a single positive case were to be detected, it would mean that the Covid is again in Marcoussis. How, then, can we believe that it will not spread again? The all-out testing policy will continue throughout the week with daily testing.
Can France-Scotland be postponed?
Of course. A private France team of seven players and managed by the only two members, out of five, of the technical staff will inevitably be reduced next Sunday on the lawn of the Stade de France. But that would be a lesser evil. Everything will therefore depend on the results of the tests carried out this Sunday. To begin. A single case and concern will inevitably win the ranks of Scotland. The XV of the thistle will take the risk, under these conditions, to agree to play?
The Tournament organizing committee will meet on Monday, once the results of this Sunday’s Covid tests are known. If there is more than one positive case, he can decide to postpone the match to a later date, or even to give the victory on the green carpet to the Scots by arguing that France has been caught in default in its health organization … This Sunday Raphaël Ibanez wanted to be very optimistic: “The competition leaves no room for concern. From tomorrow (Monday) after hearing the results of the RTPCR tests, we are entering a week of preparation and we will be ready to face Scotland on Sunday. “
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr