The French Rugby Federation (FFR)’s decision to stop all its club teams from playing European Champions and Challenge Cup matches due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest talking points of 2021 so far.
The new strain of the virus which originated in the United Kingdom has caused a great deal of uncertainty and worry among the rugby community, with the highest levels of European rugby being affected the most.
Needless to say, it was a hot topic of debate in the lastest episode of The Rugby Pod, during which Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode discussed the situation as a whole.
“I 100% believe it is the right outcome,” said Goode.
“Under the current situation of the pandemic across the world. I mean, [if] you look at the figures that are coming out, it’s horrific what you’re seeing.
“For them to come out and they are not happy with cross border matches is interesting, because what they have said is, [no matches] up until the end of the January.
“It make sense to focus purely on the domestic game at the minute. If you consider what it was like back in March or April, statistically we’re supposedly in a way worse situation now than we were.”
European Professional Club Rugby said in its statement this week: “Against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus, the French government has directed that French clubs postpone their participation in EPCR’s tournaments for the month of January, both for matches scheduled in France and for those due to be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland.”
What exactly this means for the Six Nations is unclear, with the situation likely to evolve as the days and weeks pass.
As it stands, France’s opening match against Italy remains on for now, but the French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu has demanded health guarantees before les bleus can safely travel for their away matches against Ireland (14th February) and England (13th March).
Elsewhere, the Women’s and Under 20’s 6 Nations have been postponed, with the rescheduled tournaments set to take place during the spring or summer this year.