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French government finally give Six Nations the green light


Four days out from the start of the Six Nations, France's full participation has been green lit by their government.

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu confirmed the move on Tuesday.

The French government had been seeking assurances from Six Nations organisers regarding player safety. They'd previously only committed to playing Saturday's game with Italy in Rome.

The main issues surrounded the games with non-EU countries Scotland, England and Wales.

Concern surrounding the tournament from French authorities had been heightened by several Top 14 postponements as a result of COVID-19. On top of that, those French concerns had leveraged the scrapping of the European pool stages.

"It was a decision everyone in rugby was awaiting: the FFR [French rugby union federation] submitted to us a rigorous, strict protocol, which was (then) submitted to the health authorities," Maracineanu told French TV on Tuesday morning.

"The decision has been taken within government to ensure that the Six Nations championship is held on the scheduled date, starting February 6, with a bio-secure bubble, as was the case with the Tour de France."

The minister added that French players will be tested every three days while remaining in their bubble.

To fit with the new government guidance, Fabien Galthie's squad has been trimmed to 31, and they're currently preparing for Saturday's trip to Rome in their 'bubble' in Nice.

French preparations have been hit with another injury to a key player.

Hooker Camille Chat has been forced to withdraw from the squad due to a calf muscle tear. His place in the Six Nations squad goes to Peato Mauvaka. 

Chat is set to miss between three to four weeks, ruling him out of the games with Ireland and Scotland at least.

France are already without Demba Bamba, Romain Ntamack, Virimi Vakatawa and Uini Atonio.

Paul O’Connell | ‘I was excited the minute Andy Farrell rang me’



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Camille Chat Coronavirus Covid-19 Fabien Galthie France Roxana Maracineanu Six Nations

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