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French sports minister confirms Six Nations participation

February 2, 2021 GMT

PARIS (AP) — France can take part in the Six Nations as planned amid stricter coronavirus rules, French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Tuesday.

The government gave its go-ahead after the French Rugby Federation proposed rigorous sanitary protocols to the country’s health authorities, Maracineanu told France 2 television.

France closed its borders on Sunday to all non-essential travel from outside the European Union, and was especially wary of the United Kingdom, which has been hit by a new, more infectious variant of the virus.

Although quarantine rules will be eased to facilitate the rugby team’s travels, Maracineanu said players will be kept in a “sanitary bubble” and submitted to COVID-19 tests every three days. The Six Nations starts on Saturday.

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France has also agreed to use the same squad of 31 players for the entire championship, with the only exception being to replace an injured player.

France was second in the tournament last year on points difference, and its first two matches are away in Italy on Feb. 6 and Ireland the following weekend. Then France welcomes Scotland, goes to England, and hosts Wales.

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