Wales captain Jones 'very confident' of being fit for Six Nations opener

By Sports Desk January 07, 2021

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  • Six Nations 2021: France v Scotland postponed due to coronavirus outbreak Six Nations 2021: France v Scotland postponed due to coronavirus outbreak

    France's Six Nations clash with Scotland in Paris has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak within the hosts' squad.

    Earlier on Thursday, it was announced France had suspended training ahead of the fixture at Stade de France due to a further COVID-19 case.  

    Tournament organisers had said 24 hours earlier that the match would still take place despite the situation developing within France's squad.  

    However, following the latest development, a Six Nations spokesperson confirmed to Stats Perform News that the game will not take place.  

    A Six Nations statement, as reported by the Guardian, read: "The Six Nations testing oversight group (TOG) met today to review the situation in the French camp.   

    "They unanimously recommended the postponement of the France v Scotland match. This will be ratified later today by the Six Nations Council.   

    "We will be working on the rescheduling of this fixture and will communicate the date in due course." 

    Captain Charles Ollivon, scrum-half Antoine Dupont and Brice Dulin were among the French players to have tested positive, while head coach Fabien Galthie also contracted the virus following the 15-13 win over Ireland in Dublin. 

    France were originally given the go-ahead to resume high-intensity training after no further positive tests were returned on Wednesday, but it remains to seen now when the fixture will be held.

    Next weekend's rest period is thought to be considered a risk due to the ongoing situation within the French squad. 

    Les Bleus have won two out of two in the tournament so far, with Scotland following up an opening win against England at Twickenham with a home defeat to Wales.

  • Six Nations 2021: France v Scotland to go ahead following negative COVID tests Six Nations 2021: France v Scotland to go ahead following negative COVID tests

    The Six Nations clash between France and Scotland is set to go ahead as scheduled on Sunday after a second successive days of no new positive COVID-19 tests within Les Bleus' squad.

    There were major doubts over whether the round three encounter at Stade de France could be staged following a COVID-19 outbreak in the France camp.

    Captain Charles Ollivon, scrum-half Antoine Dupont and Brice Dulin were among a host of players to test positive, while head coach Fabien Galthie also contracted the virus following the win over Ireland.

    The French Rugby Federation on Wednesday revealed that there have been no more positive tests and the squad were able to resume high-intensity training.

    Leaders France have therefore been given the green light to try and make it three wins out of three in Paris this weekend.

    A Six Nations statement said: "Further to a meeting of the Six Nations Testing Oversight Group (TOG) this morning to review the latest tests results of the French Squad, the Six Nations confirm the plans to stage the France v Scotland match as originally scheduled this coming Sunday.

    "We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are in regular contact with both unions."

    Les Bleus are level on nine points with Wales, who face defending champions England at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

    Ireland take on Italy in the first game of the weekend at the Stadio Olimpico in what will be a battle of sides who have lost both matches.

  • Six Nations 2021: Sexton not retiring just yet – I'm loving every moment of playing Six Nations 2021: Sexton not retiring just yet – I'm loving every moment of playing

    Johnny Sexton is still "loving every moment" of playing rugby and has no intention of announcing his retirement, despite speculation over his future.

    Ireland's captain missed the narrow home defeat to France in the second round of the Six Nations having suffered a head injury during his team's opening loss to Wales. 

    However, Sexton is fit to return to action as Andy Farrell's side aim to finally get off the mark in this year's tournament when they take on Italy on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico.

    The 35-year-old raised questions over his career plans when he recently suggested he "might not" be around for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, though later clarified that was a "throwaway comment".

    While already contemplating what may come in the next chapter of his life, Sexton remains as committed as ever to the game he loves.

    "You never tell anyone your plans because they can change, can't they?" Sexton said.

    "I've some things to work towards, whether it's over the next year or two years, I don't know. I'll work towards getting into the real world and starting another life.  

    "There are some parts of this game that are amazing and you love – you'd love to be part of it forever. There are other parts, though, that you just can't wait to get a million miles away from. 

    "I love it at the moment, I'm loving every moment of playing and I just want to focus on this campaign.

    "If I stay on next year, I will try to make the most of that, just try to make the most of whatever is left." 

    Sexton is under contract until the end of the campaign but has held negotiations about an extension for 2022, which will be a year out from the next World Cup on French soil. 

    Asked if a new deal was close, he replied: "Nearly, nearly. I'm waiting on Leinster to see if they want to keep me or not. They have got a few good number 10s coming through!"

    Ireland lost 21-16 to Wales after playing the majority of the match a man down following the red card for Peter O’Mahoney, while they were squeezed out 15-13 by Les Bleus last time out. 

    "I don't think we've lost our confidence as a group. The start of the campaign has been a million miles off what we wanted, which was two wins from two," Sexton said on morale within the squad.

    "But we took a lot of confidence from the Wales game with 14 men, in terms of the chances we created. The hard part in international rugby is creating chances – we've done plenty of that, we need to now go and take the next step and finish them off.  

    "I don't think this group is low on confidence, we are all looking forward to finishing this campaign on a high."

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