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France coach Fabien Galthie tests positive for Covid ahead of Six Nations; Raphael Ibanez in charge for Italy

“This morning, I tested positive Covid-19. I am doing well and have light symptoms. As a result, I am going to self-isolate and will be working remotely this week. Raphael Ibanez and the rest of my staff, in whom I have full confidence, will act as my go-betweens on the pitch” – Galthie

Last Updated: 04/02/22 11:09am

France head coach Fabien Galthie will miss Sunday’s Six Nations Test vs Italy due to a positive Covid-19 Test

France head coach Fabien Galthie has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of his team’s opening match against Italy in the Six Nations, with team manager Raphael Ibanez to take charge.

The French rugby federation confirmed that Galthie returned a positive rapid antigen test on Thursday, with a PCR result confirmed the next day, ahead of France hosting Italy on Sunday.

Galthie is the fifth member of the French squad to test positive since January 24, including players Pierre Bourgarit (La Rochelle, hooker) and Thibaud Flament (Toulouse, lock).

No other squad member tested positive following Friday’s round of testing, the federation confirmed.

Galthie confirmed that Raphael Ibanez will take control of matters at training and at the Stade de France this weekend

Galthie confirmed that Raphael Ibanez will take control of matters at training and at the Stade de France this weekend

Under the Six Nations health protocol, players from the camp will undergo more testing on Saturday.

The federation said that Galthie, who has only minor symptoms, will be allowed to re-join the French team from February 8 if he provides a negative test.

Galthie was scheduled on Friday to attend a news conference to announce his team for their opener at the Stade de France, but the federation said it was cancelled due to “exceptional circumstances”.

“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.

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

Galthie told AFP: “I feel good, I had some small symptoms on Wednesday.

“But everything has been organised for Sunday’s game since I’ve been in isolation. I watch images from training, the staff will take over under the control of Raphael Ibanez.

“Sunday I will be at a distance with a telephone with some brief exchanges, before, after and at half-time.”

Dupont fit to captain France in named side to host Italy

France have made two changes to the side that defeated New Zealand in November as they prepare to open their 2022 Six Nations campaign against Italy in Paris on Sunday.

Loose forward Dylan Cretin and hooker Julien Marchand have been brought into the starting XV, while there is also a 5-3 split between forwards and backs on the bench as opposed to 6-2 in their famous 40-25 win over the All Blacks.

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 scrum-half to partner fly-half Romain Ntamack. Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou make up the midfield pairing.

Damian Penaud and Gabin Villiere are on the wings, with Melvyn Jaminet at full-back.

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: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Jonathan Danty, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (c); 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Uini Atonio, 4 Cameron Woki, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Dylan Cretin, 8 Gregory Alldritt,

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.



Reference-www.skysports.com

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