Positive Covid tests have adjusted the makeup of Fabien Galthie’s squad ahead of this weekend’s mid point fixture in the 2021 Guinness 6 Nations, and Gregor Townsend too has shuffled his player group although thankfully not for the same reasons.
Injuries sustained so far see Cam Redpath, Gary Graham and Blade Thomson return to Bath, Newcastle and Scarlets to continue recuperation.
The Toony giveth and the Toony taketh away in Bath’s case, with another sneak attack on promising England U20 talent this time seeing uncapped Bath back-row Josh Bayliss (Aberdonian granny) hitch his personal saltire to the mast. Bayliss has featured for Bath in every game of the 2020/21 season so far so he’ll be a miss, and Toony has also borrowed Jamie Bhatti from them for good measure.
The other exciting call-up is the very talented but very raw Inverness-born Jamie Dobie (yes, I will be milking that one), who joins the squad properly this time, having been previously invited to train with the group. He was impressive at the weekend for Glasgow although a couple of rash passes did hurt his team. No doubting his potential though.
Also returning are Cornell du Preez, Rob Harley and Sam Johnson. Adam Hastings never left, it seems, but he’s now fit to play.
Tighthead prop Zander Fagerson is not listed in the latest update; Scottish Rugby plan to appeal the ban of four matches issued last week following his red card against Wales.
France meanwhile look like they will be without World’s Best Player™ Antoine Dupont, as well as players including skipper Charles Ollivon, Cyril Baille and Brice Dulin who have been withdrawn from the squad after contracting the virus.
The new cases take the total number in the France camp to 14, including coach Fabien Galthie and may begin to cast doubt on whether the fixture can be fulfilled – would playing be a risk to the Scottish players for future rounds? Would a rescheduled fixture still allow access to exiled players such as Jonny Gray, Stuart Hogg or Finn Russell?
UPDATE: From 6 Nations this evening: “The [Tournament Operating Group] will reconvene on Wednesday 24 February in the evening to review the situation. A decision on whether the France v Scotland fixture can go ahead will be made at that stage. Ensuring the health and safety of all players and staff is our number one priority. Should the decision be that the fixture cannot go ahead, the match will be rescheduled for the earliest possible date.”