Sunday’s France vs Fiji Autumn Nations Cup match in Vannes is off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Fijian ranks, a development that has resulted in French boss Fabien Galthie releasing all of his players back to their Top 14 clubs for this weekend.  

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Rugbyrama.fr reported on Friday morning that the match was in doubt. France then cancelled their planned team announcement and follow-up meetings resulted in the Six Nations, the organisers of the Autumn Nations Cup, pulling the plug on Sunday’s fixture. 

It is the second successive cancellation to affect Fiji as a pre-tournament warm-up versus Portugal fell by the wayside earlier this month.  

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French media have reported: “The Six Nations committee have ruled that the France vs Fiji match scheduled for this Sunday in Vannes is indeed cancelled after several cases of Covid-19 were detected in the Fijian workforce, including centre Semi Radradra after a second positive test this week (the Bristol player is asymptomatic). 

“Nobody wants to take a risk, especially their French opponents, and Fiji could suddenly be excluded from the Autumn Cup.”

While France’s players have been released back to their clubs, they will reassemble on Monday to prepare for their round two match versus Scotland, the opposition that derailed Galthie’s bid to win the Six Nations Grand Slam in his first year in charge.  

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While France had yet to announce their team for this weekend, Fiji had already unveiled a side minus Radradra that had nine players poised to make their Test debut. 

An experienced backline was selected with Frank Lomani and Ben Volavola at half-back, new match captain Levani Botia with Waisea Nayacalevu in midfield, and the returning Nemani Nadolo picked with Josua Tuisova and his Leicester colleague Kini Murimurivalu in the back three. 

This XV will now be scratched and it remains to be seen what will happen with Fiji regarding their round two November 21 game against Italy at Stadio del Conero in Ancona.

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