Scotland centre Chris Harris would be “devastated” if their Guinness Six Nations clash with France was postponed by a week and he was recalled for club duty.
Harris is among more than 10 Scotland players who could miss the Paris clash if Six Nations organisers push it back for a week following a Covid-19 outbreak among the host team.
Ten France players have tested positive, while head coach Fabien Galthie is among other staff who are self-isolating.
No new cases were uncovered in the latest round of testing on Monday night and Six Nations organisers will take a decision about Sunday’s scheduled game on Wednesday.
Gloucester midfielder Harris is due to go back to his club for the second fallow week of the Six Nations after Sunday’s game, and would be among the players who could miss out if the game was moved to the following weekend.
“I would be pretty upset,” he said. “Ultimately I want to play for Scotland, I want to play for my country. I would be pretty devastated on a personal level.
“But if it’s not safe to play this weekend, it’s not safe. And if I have to go back to Gloucester and I’m not allowed back up, whether they can tweak those laws, it’s all stuff that is out of my hands and out of the players’ hands.
“We just have to crack on and focus on not letting that be a distraction.”
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 23, 2021
The 30-year-old added: “We obviously want to play it but ultimately if medical staff think it’s not going to be safe, then you have got to trust their judgement.
“It wouldn’t be ideal with reg (regulation) nine going into the final week, we would obviously lose boys. I don’t know the specifics around that. But we want it to go ahead as a group, as a nation.
“We are in a good place to go over there and really do a job.
“That’s our focus. All the other stuff is not our business. It’s up to other people to tell us whether it’s safe or not and if the game goes ahead. We will just focus on the job at hand.”
If the game goes ahead on Sunday, France will be without captain Charles Ollivon and scrum-half Antoine Dupont, last year’s player of the championship.
“Obviously they have lost two or three key players but they have a big pool of players to select from, they have plenty of quality as back-up,” Harris said. “There’s still threats there.
“But obviously with the likes of Dupont missing, he’s a class act, so it would be a good time.
“But they still have good players. There was a similar situation in the autumn when England played France and they played really well. We can’t take it for granted, they are still a good team.”
Scottish Rugby statement ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/fNpk7wt93E
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 22, 2021
Expectations would increase on Scotland if they face an under-strength French team but, having recently ended long waits for wins in Wales and England, Harris believes they could cope with any added pressure as they bid to win in Paris for the first time since 1999.
“Look, we are ready for it,” he said. “We are feeling good, we are playing well. There’s still areas that we can improve, and I think that’s just quite exciting.
“We are up there – we are in with a shot. It’s a big game for us. If we go over there and win, it puts us in a real good spot to win the comp. Everyone believes it.
“We just have to go out there and do the job. That’s also why we are keen to get this game to go ahead. That’s all our focus is.”