The French rugby federation (FFR) said on Wednesday players from the national team have been allowed to return home during the Six Nations break but will still need to isolate after another staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

All players tested negative for the second day in a row on Tuesday but forwards coach William Servat had returned a positive test, the FFR said.

Head coach Fabien Galthie and one other unnamed person have already tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

All players, though, have returned a further complete round of negative tests.

In a statement, the FFR said: "Following additional PCR tests for the entire France group carried out on the evening of Tuesday, 16 February, all the players tested negative, which confirms the result of Monday, 15 February.

"They will be able to return to their homes today and are instructed to maintain their isolation.

"Management member William Servat tested positive for Covid-19. This brings the number to three cases diagnosed positive for Covid-19 in management. No symptoms have been observed to date.

"Additional PCR tests will be carried out at home on Friday 19 February, as well as Sunday 21 February in the evening, as soon as the players and staff arrive at the National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis.

"Once the tests are completed, everyone will be placed in isolation awaiting the results."

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Yesterday, the IRFU confirmed that all members of the Ireland squad, who were beaten by France on Sunday, and backroom team have tested negative in their latest PCR testing. 

The IRFU issued a statement to RTÉ Sport to clarify the latest round of tests for the Irish camp. 

"All members of the Ireland squad and backroom team undertook routine PCR testing on Monday producing no positive results. The group will undergo further routine testing again this week as per our protocols." 

The entire France squad had been isolating at the National Rugby Centre on the outskirts of Paris. Players will leave on Wednesday and are due to return on Sunday.

France beat Ireland 15-13 in Dublin on Sunday and host Scotland on 28 February.

They are top of the Six Nations standings with two wins from two matches.

There were further concerns later on Wednesday when the FFR said that the rugby sevens national team, who took part in training sessions with the Six Nations squad, had also been placed in isolation following positive cases.

"There is ongoing analysis to determine whether there is a link between the sanitary situations of the two France teams," the FFR said in a statement.

Elsewhere, Newcastle's Gallagher Premiership game at Worcester on Saturday has been cancelled after the Falcons returned positive results in the latest round of Covid-19 testing.

It is the second successive league match that Newcastle have had called off due to positive coronavirus tests, with last weekend's away fixture against Northampton also being shelved.

The latest cancellation comes after Newcastle returned positive tests in the round of PCR testing that took place on Monday.

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