England game against Barbarians cancelled after coronavirus breaches

England-Barbarians match cancelled after RFU confirms further breach of COVID-19 protocols

The RFU says even if there was a further round of Covid-19 testing on the players who left the bubble, there would be no guarantees that they are not infectious in the period up to and including the match.

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

That left the invitational side trying to fill gaps in their squad ahead of Sunday's match at Twickenham, created to act as a warm-up for England's delayed Six Nations global away to Italy in Rome next week.

The RFU said it won't specify the number of players involved nor identify them until its ongoing investigation is complete, but former England players Chris Robshaw and Richard Wigglesworth in the Barbarians squad apologised for their actions.

"The RFU 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", a statement read.

It said the potential risk of transmission of the virus meant it had no alternative but to cancel the game. However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other global teams they will go up against this Autumn.

Robshaw, who is set to join San Diego Legion in the U.S., expressed his deepest apologies for leaving the hotel post-training with some of my team-mates.


The match was to be the Twickenham farewell for Robshaw, the former England captain heading to a United States club.

The axing of the fixture comes at a significant financial cost to the RFU, with Telegraph Sport reporting on Friday that the move could cost the RFU up to £1m, while it also hinders England's preparations for the conclusion of the Six Nations and upcoming Autumn Nations Cup.

Before news of the second breach had surfaced, Sir Clive Woodward voiced his disbelief at the "stupidity" of the players.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney admitted to feeling "incredibly frustrated and disappointed" with the outcome. It's live on TV, it's a game that everyone was looking forward to.

However, they were unable to assemble a 23-player squad, forcing the game at Twickenham to be cancelled.

"It's called a bubble for that reason".

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