Is this the end of the Covid soap opera within the XV of France?
The day of Thursday promises to be decisive in any case with the exchange planned between the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the Ministry of Sports.
On the menu: the report ordered by Roxana Maracineanu on the source of contamination which decimated the Blues (12 players affected and 5 members of the staff), resulting in the postponement of the France-Scotland match scheduled for Sunday February 28.
A report that clears the French coach Fabien Galthié, according to Professor Roger Salamon, president of the medical commission of the FFR and author of the report.
Doctors to the rescue
"Fabien Galthié is not patient zero", assures us Professor Roger Salamon.
For this renowned epidemiologist, former president of the High Council of Public Health (HCSP), the coach of the Blues can not be at the origin of the contamination of the XV of France.
It is a young player from the French rugby sevens team, who came to share training with the Blues just before their success in Ireland (13-15 February 14), who is at the origin of the cluster.
“His PCR test was negative, he was in the incubation period.
The contamination was unpredictable, ”says Roger Salamon.
The exit of Fabien Galthié to go see his son play in Paris, on February 7, has nothing to do with it.
“He respected the protocol, which is one of the strictest.
You can get out of the bubble by respecting the barrier gestures, and you can only enter it with a negative test of less than 3 days ”, assures the doctor.
Criticized for being judge and party as president of the medical commission of the FFR, Roger Salamon, who recalls being "voluntary", believes that he and his colleague epidemiologist Eric Caumes, are "unassailable" on this point.
"We give a cold medical opinion, it's a virological analysis," he says.
The minister will have to decide but will not decide on sanctions
Doctors' statements are timely for Bernard Laporte, who has always defended his coach.
But not sure that the report is enough to convince the Minister for Sports.
Roxana Maracineanu took note of it this Wednesday evening.
She has planned an "oral exchange" with the FFR this Thursday, before speaking.
All scenarios are still possible.
It could clear the Federation by following the conclusions of the report.
But the government has not always followed the advice of doctors since the start of the health crisis.
And she will no doubt be vigilant that the health protocol, which she had validated in pain in the interministerial crisis center (CIC) on February 2, has been respected.
One thing seems certain: she will not decide on sanctions.
"It is not for me to give, but the FFR must position itself," she said on Sunday.
Regain player confidence
In the event that the Minister agrees to close the case, not everything will be settled.
In the camp of opponents to Bernard Laporte, we are not satisfied with this report from the doctors.
“In view of the version changes to which we have been entitled in recent days, it would have been much preferable to have an independent and external audit” at the Federation, reaffirmed Florian Grill, leader of the opposition to the management committee of the FFR.
But the hardest part for the coach will undoubtedly be to regain the confidence of the players, shaken by this affair.
They had gone home last Friday, contaminated or worried about it, and after a blast from Bernard Laporte urging them not to speak outside ...
In what state will they be on Sunday, when they return to Marcoussis?
With in their sights the Crunch against England on Saturday March 13 at Twickenham, decisive in the quest for the Grand Slam.
France-Wales will then follow, on March 20 at the Stade de France, and perhaps France-Scotland, postponed to March 25 or 26.
Or, for the players, three full weeks of living together in a reinforced health bubble with Fabien Galthié.