The France head coach won't be present at the Italy match

Fabien Galthie tests positive for Covid ahead of Six Nations opener

France head coach Fabien Galthie has tested positive for Covid ahead of the opening Six Nations weekend.

Galthie is now self-isolating and team manager Raphael Ibanez will lead the back-room team for their first match against Italy on Sunday.

The head coach will be able to re-join the camp on 8 February provided he tests negative. Failing that, he will take charge again on 10 February ahead of next weekend’s match against Ireland.

Tests were carried out on the rest of the French team on Friday morning but no new positive results were found. The team will follow Six Nations protocol and carry out more tests on Saturday night ahead of their Test against Kieran Crowley’s Italy.

“This morning I tested positive for Covid-19,” Galthie wrote on Twitter. “I am fine with mild symptoms. As a result, I am self-isolating and will act remotely this week. Raphael Ibanez and all of my staff, in whom I have full confidence, will be my relay on the pitch.”

The news comes after several players couldn’t link up with the squad for their first training camp due to Covid. Seven players, including captain Antoine Dupont, tested positive in January but they have since completed their isolation. Dupont has been named skipper and starts their game against Italy.

France are aiming to go one better than their 2021 finish in the tournament. They were pipped to the title by Wales after Galthie’s team lost to England and Scotland.

After playing Italy, they will host Ireland and then travel to play Scotland. They will then go to Cardiff to face Wales before playing England in the Stade de France on ‘Super Saturday’.

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