The Six Nations is set to go ahead as planned after the French government announced on Tuesday that safety precautions submitted by the French Rugby Federation and tournament organisers had been approved.
France’s involvement in the competition was in doubt as the holding of the 2021 tournament has come in for increased scrutiny amid the coronavirus pandemic sweeping Europe, with Top 14 games postponed due to positive cases among players.
But France’s participation was greenlighted by the French government, with sports minister Roxana Maracineanu confirming the championship would go ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic at the ‘scheduled date, in a bio-secure bubble, like the Tour de France’.
Maracineanu said the tournament would now go ahead as planned for France, starting against Italy in Rome on Saturday and bringing the round-robin championship to an end against Wales on 20 March.
‘It was a decision everyone in rugby was awaiting: the FFR [French rugby union federation] submitted to us a rigorous, strict protocol, which was [then] submitted to the health authorities,’ Maracineanu told French television.
‘The decision has been taken within government to ensure that the Six Nations championship is held on the scheduled date, starting 6 February, with a bio-secure bubble, as was the case with the Tour de France.’
Maracineanu added players would be excluded from periods of quarantine ‘since they will be tested every three days and remain in a closed bubble’.