There are times when you have to think that professional sports people, including rugby players, live on a different planet from the rest of us.

That’s because they are given privileged status and allowed to play and train while the rest of the population works from home – people who still have a job, that is.

The new variant of coronavirus is just so much more contagious that the first version, therefore much more drastic action is needed to curb it. Thankfully some people in high places are grounded in reality and we can only hope for the sake of us all that they prevail in the midst of this worsening pandemic.

Take what happened with the French Government’s decision to effectively close their borders to British rugby clubs at the weekend. There were muted howls of anger and anguish from many clubs at what is effectively a suspension of the Champions and Challenge Cups after the French Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), which is the governing body of the Top 14 league in France, went with their Government’s advice contained in a letter from the French Sports Ministry.

The Ministry stated: “The French government is moving, in the short term, towards the adoption of measures to restrict or even prohibit the participation of French team sports clubs in matches including teams from the United Kingdom.

“The Sports Ministry is writing this weekend to LNR inviting it to postpone the next matches involving French clubs against British clubs, in accordance with the wishes expressed by several professional French rugby clubs over the last few days.”

Note that last sentence – it was France’s top clubs, not politicians, which called for action after Bayonne stated they would not play their final two games after a Covid outbreak in their ranks following their visit to Leicester and Toulon protested at the punishment they received for quite rightly refusing to play Covid-hit Scarlets in Wales just before Christmas. The automatic 28-0 defeats imposed on Toulon, Exeter, Glasgow Warriors and Bath have rankled with the French in particular because their Government has been much stronger in tackling the new variant – they call it the English variant in France - and the second wave of coronavirus. The entire country is under various types of lockdown with a third of mainland France under curfews, some areas as early as 6pm. Put it this way – they just don’t want to play any UK clubs any time soon.

The French Government says the new rules should last at least until the beginning of next month, but the likelihood is that with the new variant of the virus now rampant across the country, where around 70 ,000 people have already died of Covid-19, the chances of any French participation in any sporting encounters with UK clubs and national teams are practically nil before March at least.

The Westminster and Scottish and Welsh Governments know the French are right. As Nicola Sturgeon made clear after the Celtic debacle in Dubai, elite sport is on its last warning and may even be suspended for a month or two. I said last week that the governing bodies should grasp the nettle and postpone the Six Nations. As it happens Scotland play France before the end of February – is anybody confident the pandemic will be over by then?

The lead given by the Women’s Six Nations should be followed. They will be postponing their tournament to April and that is a sensible option that should be recommended to their male equivalents.

I know the Six Nations organisers are talking to the French Government and LNR about the various options – and Scotland is the first nation to go to Paris in the upcoming tournament. Will the French Government let the Scots in?

Yes there are all sorts of precautions and tests taken by professional rugby players, but that’s not the point. A Government should not be banning all but essential travel and then allowing elite sports teams in and out of a country. For is a game of rugby really essential? When people are dying on such a massive scale, why should anyone be allowed to take any risk of spreading infection when it’s not necessary?

Vaccinations are happening, but it will be a long time before the programme gets to fit and healthy young men and women rugby players – and that’s the way it should be, with anyone caught jumping the queue for a jab banned from their sport for a year at least.

The only safe way to play elite professional sport at this time is not to play at all. By all means let players train and practise, and you could argue that keeping games going between clubs of one country is just about acceptable, but international professional sport should be postponed, just as the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix in Formula One have already been.

We will have our international rugby contests back. We will all meet again and celebrate our sport. Just not yet, for no life is worth a rugby match.