England v Barbarians cancelled after further breach of coronavirus protocols

England’s match against the Barbarians on Sunday has been cancelled due to a breach in coronavirus protocols by Barbarians players, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

Scotland winger Sean Maitland has been stood down from Barbarians' match with England following an unauthorised night out. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images for Barbarians
Scotland winger Sean Maitland has been stood down from Barbarians' match with England following an unauthorised night out. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images for Barbarians

A group of around 12 players – known to include Scotland winger Sean Maitland and England internationals Chris Robshaw and Richard Wigglesworth – left the team hotel in central London on Wednesday night to have dinner.

The breach places a question mark over Maitland’s participation in Scotland’s Six Nations match with Wales next weekend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Barbarians were scrambling to fill the gaps in their squad before a deadline of 3pm set by the RFU, which is investigating the breach with a view to summoning any transgressors before an independent disciplinary hearing.

And after learning there was an additional breach of protocol on top of the incident already known, the governing body said it had no choice but to cancel the match, which was due to be played at Twickenham.

“As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on October 21, the RFU has discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on October 20 when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts,” an RFU statement read.

“The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on October 20 without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.

“The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.”

Robshaw apologised on Twitter for his role in the postponement, writing: “I want to express my deepest apologies to @Barbarian_FC @EnglandRugby and the rugby family for letting you down this week”

.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.