Younger Canadians caught up in French professional rugby’s COVID-19 scare

Will Percillier and Quentin James, each from B.C., are academy gamers for famed French High 14 membership Stade Français.

This week’s information that gamers at a prime rugby membership in France are coping with some devastating COVID-19 after-effects hit quite a bit nearer to residence in B.C.

There are two 21-year-old B.C. raised gamers, Will Percillier and Quentin James, at Stade Français, the wealthy Paris-based membership that play within the High 14, France’s finest professional league that was hit by a virus outbreak earlier this month.


In accordance with French newspaper L’Equipe, 27 gamers have examined constructive, which might be nicely greater than half the senior squad. The membership then introduced final week that a number of gamers have been coping with lesions on their lungs.

The first players infected appear to have been front-row players, who work in shut contact on the center of the scrum. The infections then presumably handed by the remainder of the squad.

Stade Français introduced Monday that the gamers coping with lung issues had been ordered to take one other week of relaxation, in hopes their lungs would possibly get better.


James’s father, former Canadian rugby worldwide Mike James, mentioned neither younger Canadian has examined constructive however mentioned the information was regarding. The elder James was a star for a few years at Stade Français.

“It’s near my coronary heart, it’s my previous membership,” he mentioned. “It hits near residence.”

Stade Français went to the south of France for a brief coaching camp on the finish of July and a number of other gamers examined constructive then. The rest of the camp was cancelled, and the team returned home.


The entire squad and training workers have been then quarantined for 2 weeks, starting Aug. three.

Dr. Harjas Grewal, a household drugs resident on the College of Manitoba and a graduate of the College of B.C.’s medical program, mentioned the Stade Français information was yet one more reminder that COVID-19 is cruel and has many long-term impacts which can be a lot worse than the flu and may have an effect on anybody, together with professional athletes, a number of the healthiest people on the market.

“There was a lot information recently associated to the chance of myocarditis in athletes who’re contaminated with COVID-19, however this information of lung harm provides one other threat,” he mentioned in a social-media message. “This has been documented already in different survivors of the lethal virus and this information exhibits that athletes should not resistant to the identical problems doable within the common inhabitants.


“A lot has been made about resuming a ‘regular’ life, however we’re repeatedly reminded that this can be a novel virus which we’re nonetheless studying about and that if we’re to proceed with out warning, we’re nearly sure to not solely improve the mortality of our inhabitants, however the morbidity too.”

James mentioned Quentin had travelled residence to Vancouver after the French rugby season was referred to as off in March. He returned to Paris in early July and needed to quarantine in a resort for just a few days whereas he was examined for COVID-19. His arrival date dominated him out of becoming a member of the senior squad’s camp in Good, however Percillier did participate within the coaching camp. The 2 younger Canadians are signed to academy contracts however usually participate in senior-team periods.

Quentin James in motion for Rugby Canada.


Rugby Canada /


They’re additionally roommates.


“Luckily for him, in hindsight, he was one of many final guys again,” James mentioned of his son’s scheduling.

“The long-term results’ potential is horrifying,” he mentioned of listening to about what a number of the Stade Français gamers are dealing with. “Normally an elite athlete has to depend on his bodily prowess to succeed. This virus can take that away.”

Rugby Canada senior males’s head coach Kingsley Jones mentioned he was following the information of the Stade Français outbreak intently.


“It does fear me, I’ve obtained kids as nicely, I’ve obtained grown-up sons, one is enjoying in France,” he mentioned over the telephone from Victoria. “It’s at all times there.”

If any participant have been to indicate up at Rugby Canada’s coaching centre in Langford, close to Victoria, with signs, the entire operation must shut down whereas acceptable contact-tracing, testing and cleansing came about.

“It truly is a course of that we have now to be very cautious about,” he mentioned.


Jones works with a variety of nationwide staff gamers who’re based mostly on the Langford centre. The gamers practice in teams of 5, with coaches assigned to work solely with particular teams. That takes self-discipline in itself, he identified. A coach’s intuition is to work with everybody.

Off the sphere, he worries concerning the realities his younger gamers face. They must be vigilant of their contacts, not only for the sake of conserving the staff wholesome total, however for the sake of their households too.

“It’s robust for younger folks, they need to socialize, they need to combine,” he mentioned. “However they put their households at-risk.”


He mentioned Personal the Podium and Sport Canada had been superb in serving to athletes with their psychological wellness too, organizing webinars with well-known Canadians like Chris Hadfield.

“It’s quite a lot of studying, it’s irritating at occasions,” he added. “I haven’t gone eight months and not using a rugby Saturday ever. That’s robust on all of us, to go and not using a goal in our life.

“I believe it’s robust significantly for sports activities folks, as a result of we’re used to that cycle the place there’s an consequence on the finish of the week.”