France are now preparing to play Scotland next Sunday at Murrayfield in the Autumn Nations Cup as Group B leaders after tournament organisers awarded them a 28-0 victory for their cancelled match against Fiji.

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The French were due to host the Fijians in Vannes last Sunday but the match was called off on Friday following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the ranks of the Islanders. Four players tested positive, forcing organisers to pull the plug on the round one match.

Scotland had beaten Italy 28-17 on Saturday in Florence to go top of the group, but they are now in second as they prepare to welcome France to Edinburgh for the second time in 2020 – Scotland’s win last March ruined France’s Six Nations Grand Slam bid. 

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A toast to Argentina’s wonderful win over the All Blacks last weekend

A Nations Cup statement on the France vs Fiji cancellation outcome read: “Following last week’s cancellation of the France vs Fiji match, the tournament organisers of the Autumn Nations Cup have confirmed a decision to award a 28-0 victory with a bonus point to France.  

“While no fault has been apportioned to Fiji Rugby, the competition rules provide that if a team is primarily responsible for a match not taking place, a 28-0 victory will be awarded to the opposition that could have played the match.

“We wish the affected Fiji players well as they continue their recovery and are working closely with the Fiji team to ensure that they are able to field a competitive team against Italy. Further updates will follow once additional rounds of testing have been completed.”

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After the four players tested positive, the Fijians went in quarantine and were isolated in their individual rooms with further tests planned for Monday and Wednesday prior to their match versus Italy.  

“None of the players who tested positive have any symptoms and all are healthy and doing well,” reported Fiji union boss John O’Connor over the weekend. “Morale in camp is high but there is frustration since the team had prepared well and was looking forward to the match, to kick off their campaign.

“Everyone, however, understands that the life, safety and welfare of everyone involved is always paramount and the priority. With Covid-19, the new normal the pandemic has thrust upon us life is full of uncertainties and challenges which we have to deal with.”

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