The Autumn Nations Cup fixture has been called off after positive cases in Fijian squad
France v Fiji cancelled due to Covid-19
The Autumn Nations Cup fixture between France and Fiji has been cancelled, with France awarded a 28-0 bonus-point victory.
The two sides were due to play in Vannes on Sunday afternoon in the first round of the new competition, but the match was called off after a number of players in the Fiji squad tested positive for Covid-19.
Vern Cotter had already named is side to take on France in what would have been his first Test in charge of Fiji, but organisers made the decision to cancel after a further four positive cases were found in the squad following one positive test earlier in the week.
Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, which is organising the tournament, said: “This was a difficult and disappointing decision, but it was the only possible outcome following test results. The welfare of our players and their support teams remain our number one priority.
“We have a rigorous testing programme in place. In this instance, it is impossible for the Fijians to field a competitive team and we have no other option but to cancel this match. I want to thank the Fijian and French unions for their collaboration and wish the impacted athletes a speedy recovery”
A meeting of the tournament sub-committee on Monday determined the ‘result’ of the match, with a statement from organisers saying: “Whilst no fault has been apportioned to Fiji Rugby, the competition rules provide that if a team is primarily responsible for a match not taking place, a 28-0 victory will be awarded to the opposition that could have played the match.”
The result puts France above Scotland, who beat Italy 28-17 at the weekend, in the Group B table on points difference.
The last time these two sides met in 2018, Fiji won 21-14 at the Stade de France – the first time the islanders had beaten the French.
Fiji are due to play Italy on Saturday 21 November and measures are being taken by the squad to mitigate the impact of the outbreak, with further Covid-19 tests to be carried out to see whether they can field a team.
A new France squad was due to take on Scotland this weekend because of an agreement with the Top 14 clubs that players would play in only three of France’s six scheduled matches this autumn (friendly against Wales, final Six Nations match against Ireland and four Autumn Nations Cup fixtures), but it is now likely that Fabien Galthié will be able to select his strongest team to travel to BT Murrayfield.
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