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Fabien Galthie to miss France's Six Nations opener

By AAP
Antoine Dupont and Fabien Galthie /Getty

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Coach Fabien Galthie is set to miss France’s opening Six Nations rugby match against Italy after testing positive for COVID-19.

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“This morning, I tested positive COVID-19. I am doing well and I have light symptoms,” wrote Galthie on his Twitter account (@FGalthie) on Friday ahead of Sunday’s match in Paris.

“As a result, I am going to self-isolate and will be working remotely this week. Raphaël Ibañez and the rest of my staff, in whom I have full confidence, will be acting as my go-betweens on the pitch.

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Galthié is the fifth member of the French camp to test positive since January 24, including players Pierre Bourgarit and Thibault Flament.

No other squad member tested positive following Friday’s round of testing, the federation said. Under the Six Nations health protocol, players will undergo more testing on Saturday.

The French rugby federation said that Galthié took a rapid antigen test on Thursday with the result confirmed the next day.

The federation said that Galthie, who has only minor symptoms, will be allowed to rejoin the French team from Tuesday if he provides a negative test.

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Lock Cameron Woki has been declared fit to partner Paul Willemse in the second row, while in front of them in the scrum will be Marchand, and props Uini Atonio and Cyril Baille.

The back three are made up of number eight Gregory Alldritt, and loose-forwards Cretin and Anthony Jelonch.

Captain and recently crowned World Rugby Player of the Year Antoine Dupont is at scrumhalf to partner flyhalf Romain Ntamack. Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou make up the midfield pairing.

Damian Penaud and Gabin Villiere are on the wing, with Melvyn Jaminet at fullback.

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France have won the last 11 meetings between the sides dating back to 2014, and claimed a 50-10 victory when the teams clashed in Rome in the Six Nations last year.

FRANCE TEAM: 15-Melvyn Jaminet, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Jonathan Danty, 12-Gael Fickou, 11-Gabin Villiere, 10-Romain Ntamack, 9-Antoine Dupont (capt.), 8-Gregory Alldritt, 7-Dylan Cretin, 6-Anthony Jelonch, 5-Paul Willemse, 4-Cameron Woki, 3-Uini Atonio, 2-Julien Marchand, 1-Cyril Baille. Replacements: 16-Peato Mauvaka, 17-Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Francois Cros, 21-Maxime Lucu, 22-Yoram Moefana, 23-Thomas Ramos.

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