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Sport The big Six Nations stories from round three as it is confirmed France coach left bubble and Italy's position 'precarious'

02:40  02 march  2021
02:40  02 march  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

Nearly half of all 300 Border Force at Heathrow were off last week

  Nearly half of all 300 Border Force at Heathrow were off last week The chaos experienced at the border at Heathrow has been partly caused by sickness, with 138 of around 300 agents at Heathrow off work last Friday - while just 44 were ill with coronavirus.Thousands of passengers who tried to beat the Government's hotel quarantine regime which has come into force today experienced massive delays at Border Check at the West London airport last week.

France head coach Fabien Galthie has been backed by his federation despite leaving the squad' s bubble on the opening weekend of the Six Nations . France ' s round - three game against Scotland was postponed because of an outbreak of coronavirus in the camp. Galthie provided the squad' s first positive test after the 15-13 victory over Ireland in Dublin on 14 February. French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has threatened to withdraw France from the Six Nations amid reports players went out to eat waffles while they were in Rome to play Italy in their opening game on 6 February.

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France coach left bubble before testing positive for Covid

Fabien Galthie left the France Six Nations secure bubble during the tournament, it has been confirmed following the postponement of Sunday's match against Scotland.

French rugby president Bernard Laporte admitted that the head coach watched his son play a match in Paris the day after his side’s opening day win over Italy.

Galthie tested positive for Covid a little over a week later after his side had beaten Ireland in Dublin and an outbreak in the squad saw 16 others, including 11 players, contract the virus.

Laporte told France 3 television: "For me, he has the right to leave from the moment he is masked. He was outside.

Sunday Six Nations headlines as Wales star Ken Owens fires out warning to England despite lack of passionate Cardiff crowd

  Sunday Six Nations headlines as Wales star Ken Owens fires out warning to England despite lack of passionate Cardiff crowd England versus Wales is just six days away and these are your rugby morning headlines for Sunday February 21Wales hooker Ken Owens has warned England to expect no less intensity at an empty Principality Stadium than if there were 70,000 passionate Welsh fans screaming at them.

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"He watched the match alongside Thomas Lombard (the director general of the Stade Francais team), who himself is tested every three days and also wore a mask.

"I don't see where the problem could be but then again I am not a doctor."

Laporte also insisted that Galthie’s job was not at risk.

He said: “Why wouldn’t I support him? I am not a prosecutor. And it’s not because I really like Fabian. He knows very well that I don’t give gifts to people.”

It comes after French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu threatened to withdraw the team from the Six Nations, while French Rugby Federation director Florian Grill has called for an independent investigation.

England player receives death threats

The aftermath of Wales’ win over England has been dominated by reports of online abuse.

Gregor Townsend wants France game rescheduled for when all Scotland players are available

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England prop Ellis Genge revealed that he received death threats after a video went viral of him appearing not to clap the Wales players off the pitch at the end of the game in Cardiff.

The RFU issued a statement which said: "Respect is a core value of rugby.

"Yesterday we lost to Wales who deserved their victory. Unfortunately, some of the reaction on social media to players and the team has not shown the level of respect the rugby community prides itself on.

"We will support our players and team against online abuse and hope true rugby fans will stand with us."

England Rugby also offered support to BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan after she revealed that abusive comments on social media after Saturday’s match left her in tears.

They said: "Abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you."

Ex-Ireland star claims Italy's position is precarious

Italy’s place in the Six Nations has been labelled as “precarious” after they were thrashed 48-10 by Ireland in Rome.

It was a 30 th consecutive defeat for the Azzurri in the tournament with their last win coming against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2015.

Former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne believes they could be replaced by South Africa or Argentina.

"We always thought nothing could happen because 'the Italians can’t be abandoned after putting so much into it’ by bringing up Georgia or someone like that, restructuring the Six Nations into a two-tier tournament," Byrne told RTE.

"But now with the thought of an Argentina or a South Africa stepping into the Six Nations, you have to think that their position in the Six Nations is becoming pretty precarious if this continues."

Rugby-England snatch late Six Nations win over France in Twickenham thriller .
Rugby-England snatch late Six Nations win over France in Twickenham thrillerLONDON (Reuters) - A late Maro Itoje try secured England a 23-20 victory over France in a sparkling Six Nations game full of high-speed, enterprising rugby at Twickenham on Saturday to leave the championship wide open but with Wales in pole position.

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