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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

19.49 26 Feb 2021


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French Rugby president Bernard Laporte says Fabien Galthié's position as head coach is not under threat despite rumours of a COVID protocol breach.

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu wants to see the FFR conduct an internal investigation following the postponement of Sunday's Six Nations game with Scotland.

Twelve players have tested positive for COVID-19 since Les Bleus' 15-13 victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, as well as a number of their coaching staff.

Galthié was the first member of the backroom team to confirm their infection, closely followed by assistant William Servat.

Earlier this week, L'Equipe reported Galthié as France's 'patient zero', following a supposed breach of their COVID-19 'bubble'.

The 51-year old described the report as an "unwarranted accusation", with the FFR instead pointing to a physical trainer who had been working with the similarly stricken France 7's side.

FFR president Laporte was quizzed about the matter by RMC Sport's Super Moscato Show on Friday evening, and came out in support of his head coach.

"I don't know if he got out or not," Laporte said, "Did he break the rules? Based on what I've been told, no.

"The internal report will tell.

"I asked him the question, he told me 'no', and  I trust him.

"And what does “breach the bubble” mean? Things have to be clear.

"I have been in Italy for example. The players went out with masks to walk in the street, but that does not mean that they broke the bubble.

"Fabien told me that he had respected the protocol. I believe him. Everyone tells me what he wants. The final report will tell me who failed or not."

Asked if there could be sanctions arising from an internal investigation, Laporte responded, "If the report finds that people broke the rules, sanctions will obviously have to be taken.

"I'm asking for a report to find out everything. Fabien tells me that he did not break the rules, so I believe him."

Responding to Laporte's claims that players went out in the streets without masks, Minister Maracineanu told L'Equipe, "I don't think it was written in the protocol that the players were going to be able to go out and eat waffles.

"We had to actually retest them when they entered the bubble after being in contact with others. We want to know if this was done."

She added, "I was afraid that this cluster would spread the virus elsewhere. These people are now in isolation.

"It's not as if we had infected some of the general public because of rugby."

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Bernard Laporte Coronavirus Covid-19 Fabien Galthie France Scotland Six Nations

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