France head coach Fabien Galthie out of Italy clash after positive Covid-19 test

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France Head Coach Fabien Galthie Out Of Italy Clash After Positive Covid-19 Test France Head Coach Fabien Galthie Out Of Italy Clash After Positive Covid-19 Test
France head coach Fabien Galthie has tested positive for Covid-19, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent

France head coach Fabien Galthie has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not attend Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy in Paris.

Les Bleus’ general manager and former captain Raphael Ibanez will head up the coaching team at Stade de France, with Galthie working remotely.

“This morning I tested positive for Covid-19. I am fine with mild symptoms,” Galthie tweeted.

“As a result, I am self-isolating and will act remotely this week.

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“Raphael Ibanez and all of my staff, in whom I have full confidence, will be my relay on the pitch.”

The French Rugby Federation said that tests carried out on the entire playing squad, coaching and management team on Friday produced no further positive results.

“Fabien Galthie, who has only mild symptoms, continues to assume all of his prerogatives from a distance during this period,” the Federation said.

“He will rely on the presence of Raphael Ibanez with the France group, as well as on all the staff, and will continue to intervene remotely.

“In accordance with Six Nations protocol, additional tests are scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday February 5, on the eve of the match.

“These will be the last tests before the first match of the Six Nations tournament scheduled for Sunday February 6 at 4pm at the Stade de France.”

World player of the year Antoine Dupont, who was among a number of France squad members to test positive for coronavirus last month, will captain Les Bleus in their Six Nations opener.

Toulouse scrum-half Dupont replaces an injured Charles Ollivon as skipper, while there is a start in the second-row for Bordeaux-Begles’ Cameron Woki alongside Paul Willemse.

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France team versus Italy: M Jaminet; D Penaud, G Fickou, J Danty, G Villiere; R Ntamack, A Dupont (capt); C Baille, J Marchand, U Atonio, C Woki, P Willemse, A Jelonch, D Cretin, G Alldritt.

Replacements: P Mauvaka, J-B Gros, D Bamba, R Taofifenua, F Cros, M Lucu, Y Moefana, T Ramos.

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