Sunday’s match at Twickenham will not take place due to Covid-19 protocol breaches

England v Barbarians Called Off

Sunday’s fixture between England and the Barbarians at Twickenham has been called off after an investigation discovered that Baa-Baas players twice breached the Covid-19 protocols by leaving their hotel bubble.

The Baa-Baas squad have been staying in a central London hotel and were meant to follow strict guidelines, as well as undergoing testing to ensure their environment is Covid-secure. However, on Wednesday evening a number of Baa-Baas players left the hotel without permission and could now be infectious, which threw Sunday’s match into jeopardy.

In the RFU’s investigation into that breach though, it was also discovered that there was an earlier undisclosed breach on Tuesday, when a number of  players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers of their whereabouts. The RFU have decided that as those players did not isolate from the rest of the group on their return, the bubble environment was compromised.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play. However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this autumn.

“There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely. We are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

Alex Lowe of The Times had previously reported that the Barbarians needed to find 12 players because a dozen of the squad went out on the Wednesday.

Chris Robshaw, Richard Wigglesworth, Sean Maitland and Jackson Wray were among those reported as being stood down from the game, along with a number of other Saracens players.

In light of the latest findings, Eddie Jones’s side will now not see any competition until they face Italy in Rome next week in the Six Nations.

The RFU say they will continue to look into this and that no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until their investigation is concluded.

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