Champions Cup: British clubs set to get green light to play in France

Date published: January 13 2022 - Planet Rugby

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup pool matches involving British clubs in France this coming weekend look poised to go ahead as planned.

France’s tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has announced a lifting of travel restrictions, which will take effect from Friday morning.

Travellers from the UK who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter France if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure, while a requirement to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.

Green light

It gives the green light for Bath, Sale, Scarlets and Newcastle to travel, although official confirmation is awaited from tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby.

Bath face Champions Cup opponents La Rochelle on Saturday, with Sale visiting Clermont Auvergne and Scarlets tackling Bordeaux-Begles the following day.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are in European Challenge Cup action against Biarritz on Friday.

The sticking point for sides visiting France in round three of European competition was a requirement that they quarantine on arrival for 48 hours.

If any personnel tested positive for coronavirus, they would then have been required to remain in self-isolation for 10 days before returning home.

EPCR had been seeking a softening of the rules and were optimistic of securing a positive outcome.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson said: “All positive – we’re going. That is what I have been informed.

“I haven’t spoken to EPCR directly, but on the back of all the communication we’ve had this far, we are very positive. We have chartered a plane and sorted the hotel.”

Fraser Brown faces battle to get into squad

Glasgow Warriors skipper Fraser Brown admits that it will be difficult for him to force his way into the squad for the Six Nations.

Brown has earned 54 caps for the national team and has been a key part of Gregor Townsend’s side when fit but struggled with injury in 2021, missing both the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Series.

The 32-year-old has recovered from injury and is looking to play his way into form ahead of the squad announcement.