The prospect of the 2020 Six Nations finale between France and Ireland, scheduled for the Stade de France next Saturday, proceeding as scheduled remains highly unlikely as France banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people to try and contain coronavirus.
The French government decree comes after the number of deaths in the country rose from 11 on Saturday to 19 on Sunday, when officials also confirmed the number of cases now stood at 1,126.
On Friday president Emmanuel Macron warned an epidemic was “inevitable” in the country.
As it is the championship cannot be won next weekend even if the France-Ireland game does ultimately go ahead, after Scotland ended French hopes of a first Grand Slam in a decade with a 28-17 win at Murrayfield on Sunday.
While Ireland still have to beat both France away and Italy in their rearranged game which was postponed last Saturday at the Aviva Stadium to have a chance of winning the title, the odds on them winning in Paris next Saturday, were the game to go ahead, have probably improved.
Not only have France’s Grand Slam hopes been quashed, but they have lost their talismanic scrum-half Antoine Dupont due to a shoulder injury and most probably their concussed out-half Romain Ntamack.
The scale of Scotland’s win against a previously unbeaten French team reduced to 14 men in the 37th minute by the sending off of tight-head Mohamed Haouas has actually moved England to the top of the table on points difference fractionally ahead of France.
Although Scotland also moved above Ireland to third in the table, the winners of the 2020 Six Nations (presuming it is completed) will be one of three teams, namely England, France or Ireland.
More information: IRISHTIMES.