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The Autumn Nations Cup has gotten off to an inauspicious start with France's game with Fiji cancelled.

The countries were due to meet in their first Group B game in Vannes on Sunday.

However, five members of the Fiji party have tested positive for coronavirus, while others are deemed close contacts.

The Pacific Islanders had initially sought to have the match postponed, but the French Rugby Union (FFR) reportedly made it clear they had no dates available.

The FFR had only recently come through a bitter dispute with the French Rugby League (LNR) regarding the length of the autumn international window.

Autumn Nations Cup organisers are working with the Fijian union to ensure they can fulfil their next fixture with Italy on November 21.

French rugby president Bernard Laporte says tournament organisers will meet on Monday to discuss the result of the France-Fiji game.

Six Nations Rugby are behind the Nations Cup, and their CEO Ben Morel said, "This was a difficult and disappointing decision, but it was the only possible outcome following today’s test results.

"Whilst we’ve all been eagerly awaiting this match, the welfare of our players and their support teams remain our number one priority.

“We have a rigorous testing programme in place. In this instance, it is impossible for the Fijians to field a competitive team and we have no other option but to cancel this match.

"I want to thank the Fijian and French Unions for their collaboration and wish the impacted athletes a speedy recovery.”

Alan Quinlan | Autumn Nations Cup kick-off; James Lowe debut | OTB AM

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Autumn Nations Cup Coronavirus Covid-19 Fiji France

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