Isolation at an end as Fiji get COVID-19 all-clear

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(Reuters) - Fiji will finally leave their French motel after almost a month of isolation on Thursday when they head to Scotland for their weekend Autumn Nations Cup clash against Georgia.

It will be the first outing for the Pacific islanders after scheduled group matches against France, Italy and Scotland were all cancelled after almost the entire squad and management were infected with COVID-19, days before their scheduled opening game last month.

They have since spent their time cloistered in a motel north of St Etienne, first in isolation before returning to full training at the start of the week.

“It was a great feeling to see the boys out on the field training, having fun throwing the ball around, even if the temperature was minus four degrees,” coach Vern Cotter told The Independent newspaper on Tuesday.

“We have had our stand-down, 14 days of isolation and now we have the opportunity to drag something out of the competition.”

Fiji will meet Georgia at Murrayfield on Saturday in the clash to avoid the competition's wooden spoon.

The match goes ahead after the Fiji party were given the all-clear. At the height of the infectious outbreak, 22 players and seven management staff from the 46-strong party tested positive at the same time.

“It was so disappointing as we were looking forward to getting stuck into this competition. But this is COVID, and with COVID, you don’t look at blaming people,” Cotter added.

It will be Cotter's first match in charge after being appointed coach at the start of the year.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)