Gregor Townsend has admitted he was never hoping Scotland would be awarded a 28-0 win over France following last month’s Guinness Six Nations postponement, unlike what happened in November when a match versus Fiji was called off in the Autumn Nations Cup. 

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That Murrayfield postponement resulted in the Scots getting a four-try bonus victory given to them off the pitch, but Townsend has explained there was never an expectation this the same decision would happen after France were at fault for the February 28 Six Nations match in Paris getting scratched. 

A dozen French players and four members of staff, including boss Fabien Galthie, all tested positive for Covid-19, but Scotland boss Townsend knew from the off the match would be rescheduled rather than his team getting gifted a walk-over victory in the boardroom.  

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Scotland’s Finn Russell guests on RugbyPass Offload with Simon Zebo and Ryan Wilson

“No, we were all aware of the rules going into the tournament. There wasn’t going to be a 28-0 win or even a draw. It would have been a delay of game or postponement,” explained Townsend, who has made four changes to his XV for Sunday’s round four match with Ireland.

“You could follow all the rules and protocols but you could still get the virus into your camp. We have a situation where our players are coming from other teams every second week so I don’t think we could have set something up because it could be down to bad luck as well as any other circumstance. We want the game played, so do France. Let’s hope it gets played in the next few weeks.”

No date for this rescheduled match has yet been confirmed as conversations are still ongoing to ensure Scotland can call on their players who play for clubs in England and France. March 26 is the suggested date for the rescheduling but it would fall outside the World Rugby regulation nine player release window, something that has prompted the Scots into having discussions to secure guarantees that stars such as skipper Stuart Hogg, who plays for Exeter, and Finn Russell, who is attached to Racing, would not miss the rearranged game.

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“The players are focused. They know we are likely to have three games in three weeks so they are up for that… we know there is a date out there, the 26th, that would suit everybody and that would link it very close to the tournament, just finishing a week after the other games. 

“But there are a few things that have to be sorted, notably getting all our players available and agreeing on the release from clubs in England and France. I believe those discussions are ongoing and I’m not sure when they will be resolved but we hope that will be soon. 

“It’s not going to be my decision on this but for a tournament of the standing of the Six Nations, you need the best players playing against the best players. Now sometimes you get injuries but we want to have a full group of players to select from and that is what everybody is working towards.”

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