France will be without captain Charles Ollivon and scrumhalf Antoine Dupont for their crunch Six Nations clash with Scotland on Sunday.
Ollivon and four other players – Brice Dulin, Cyril Baille, Romain Taofifenua and Peato Mauvaka – were the latest to have tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Dupont, centre Arthur Vincent, hooker Julien Marchand, wing Gabin Villiere and prop Mohamed Haouas are already isolating after returning positive tests last week.
It means that a total of nine players of the 23-man squad from France’s victory over Ireland have tested positive. France are top of the Six Nations table after also winning their opening game against Italy.
Gaetan Balot, Thierry Paiva, Cyril Cazeaux, Baptiste Pesenti and Thomas Ramos have been called up to the squad as replacements.
The French Rugby Federation said two members of the backroom staff were also considered ‘suspicious cases’ after their tests. Head coach Fabien Galthie and assistant William Servat also tested positive this week and have been isolating.
The squad will continue to be tested every 24 hours, with a view to returning to training on Wednesday, but this weekend’s game could be thrown into doubt if France are unable to train this week.
Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel revealed before the tournament that, in such a situation, preference would be given to postponement rather than cancellation.
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