'Vigilant' France return negative Covid-19 tests after women's Six Nations postponment

·2-min read

France team manager Raphael Ibanez said on Friday there were no coronavirus cases in his squad ahead of this weekend's Six Nations decider with Ireland despite sharing a training ground with their female counterparts who have suffered an outbreak.

Les Bleus' women's match in Ireland scheduled for Sunday was postponed after several of the travelling players tested positive for the illness.

"We have to be very careful and vigilant with the men's team. The players have been responsible," Ibanez said at the even of match press conference.

"We have followed the health protocol from the Six Nations and our own medical committee and until today every play has been tested regularly every Monday and Thursday. Everyone is negative," he added.

On Saturday, Ibanez's side can lift the Championship for the first time since 2010 by beating Ireland and bettering England's result in Italy earlier on.

Captain Charles Ollivon said he realised how big an achievement it would be.

"It represents something massive," Ollivon said.  "We'll have time to think about it after the match to debrief."

"We're focused on the game, we're here to win," he added.

- 'Cracking opportunity' -

Earlier, Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby said his side have a "cracking opportunity" to win the title.

Ireland top the standings and can clinch the Six Nations at the Stade de France by matching Eddie Jones' men's achievements in Rome.

"It just presents a cracking opportunity for us tomorrow for us to go out there and express ourselves and win a game of rugby," Easterby told an eve of match press conference.

"Off the back of that, if we need to get certain things out of a game we'll have to do that. What an opportunity," he added.

Ireland claimed a convincing victory over the Azzurri last weekend despite trailing after three minutes.

Former Test back-rower Easterby, who played two Tests on the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour, said Ireland's players will have to be patient before looking for a potentially necessary four-try bonus point.

"If you go chasing things then often that can be a distraction," he said.

"We have to focus on what we can control and that means getting ourselves right in the warm-up and starting the game as well as we can.

"It might open up a little bit, we have to focus on winning the game first. After half-time and as the game's going on we'll see," he added.