Due to the coronavirus, the France-Ireland match of the Six Nations tournament postponed

French captain Charles Ollivon and his partners will not contest the end of the Six Nations Tournament until the end of October.
French captain Charles Ollivon and his partners will not contest the end of the Six Nations Tournament until the end of October. SCOTT HEPPELL / AP

It was no longer there "Home final" hoped by Romain Ntamack and his family, the fault of fierce Scots. But France-Ireland, the final match of the 2020 edition of the Six Nations Tournament, will not take place. Finally, not Saturday March 14, as expected at least. Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu announced on March 9 that the meeting was postponed. Because of the epidemic of Covid-19, and the drastic rules taken by the various governments to try to slow the spread of the virus, the committee of the Six Nations, organizer of the competition, took the decision to postpone the match of the 'final day of the Tournament at the end of October. No France-Ireland, therefore, a few days after the announcement of the Italy-England postponement. However, the match between Wales and Scotland should go as planned.

"On instruction from the French authorities, the decision was made to postpone the Six Nations match between France and Ireland, say the Six Nations in a press release. We are still awaiting confirmation for the women's and under 20's matches. " According to corroborating sources, we are heading for a postponement at the end of October, but the organizers say no more. "No immediate announcements will be made on these dates, as we will need to discuss with all relevant stakeholders and assess the development of the situation. "

Monday morning, in the absence of an official decision, and even if the atmosphere of the great hotel of Edinburgh, where they had taken up their quarters, was buzzing with rumors of cancellation, the supervision of the XV of France was limited to repeating what he had said for several days already. "On this highly topical subject, we have no official information at the moment, so we are ready to play against Ireland on Saturday", replied Raphaël Ibañez, the general manager of the Blues, the day after the defeat of his family in Edinburgh (17-28). The decision not being up to them, the French could only focus on the match against Ireland, even if their outfit was – then – pending.

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"Replaying immediately would be a blessing for us, blew Fabien Galthié, still marked by the Scottish hangover of the last match. But we are now awaiting a decision that does not belong to us. " However, with the ban issued by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran on Sunday, of gatherings of more than a thousand people, it was impossible to envisage holding the meeting under normal circumstances. Because, whatever the most fervent supporters of the Blues, consider placing a rugby match – even one from the XV of France – on the list of rallies "Useful for the benefit of the nation" claimed by the government to the prefects seems ludicrous. And the Six Nations committee’s decision on Monday ratified the inexorable postponement of the meeting.

Postponement rather than in camera

The Six Nations organization has remained faithful to its line since the start of the health crisis: “Follow the situation closely with the federations, their respective governments and the competent health authorities, and strictly comply with all directives which could have an impact on sporting events. "

"The authorities will give their directives and in any case, we have no say, as much to prepare the match", reacted the third-line Dylan Cretin last week. Finally, the match was postponed, and the French team therefore ended this first part of the Tournament with a defeat, after three encouraging – sometimes exciting – matches against England, Italy and Wales. The end of the rally was aborted due to circumstances beyond the scope of sport, which prevent this new version of the XV from France from properly concluding the first phase of its adventure before bringing it to the 2023 World Cup.

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Unlike PSG-Dortmund, on Wednesday, which will take place behind closed doors, the organization of the Tournament favored the postponement of the meetings concerned. In addition to the Ireland-Italy match, which was supposed to take place last weekend but postponed following a request from the Irish State, a precedent exists. In 2001, several Tournament matches – determining the winner – were played in the fall due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. And it was difficult to see the various federations – starting with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) – without winning tens of thousands of tickets sold and validating a closed session if another option existed.

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The coronavirus – which also prevented the keeping of Scotland-France in women, a player of the XV of the Thistle being contaminated – was invited to the table of the Six Nations. As in all areas. And even if the players of the XV of France had the impression of being "In a bubble" in their Marcoussis base camp, it seemed impossible that they would escape the consequences of the epidemic. First in the tournament, tied with England (13 points), they remain in contention to win the Six Nations. But will have to wait until the fall to find out if they end ten years of famine.

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