A furious RFU have called 13 Barbarians players to account for their behaviour which led to the embarrassing cancellation of last Sunday’s Quilter Cup match with England, costing the union a reputed £1million in much-needed revenue.

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The match was set to provide Eddie Jones’ squad with a warm-up ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations finale away to Italy. 

However, concerned RFU officials pulled the plug on the Baa-Baas match 48 hours before it was to take place after they learned about two unsanctioned breaches of the protective hotel bubble that had been placed around the invitational club side to ensure there was no Covid-19 threat to the game taking place.

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There has been damaging fallout since the cancellation and an investigation into the fiasco has now resulted in the RFU taking disciplinary action against the misbehaving Barbarians players, a group that included Chris Robshaw, the ex-England captain, who took to social media in the aftermath to apologise for his behaviour. 

An RFU statement on Thursday afternoon read: “The RFU is bringing charges against 13 Barbarian FC players who will appear before an online independent disciplinary panel chaired by Philip Evans, charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game, contrary to RFU rule 5.12.

“The players will face a range of charges including: Individual breaches of the protocols (e.g. leaving the hotel without permission or without informing organisers of their whereabouts); Providing false statements during an investigation.

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“The RFU recognises the pressure public scrutiny is placing on the players and therefore it will publish players’ names, full judgements and sanctions after the hearings have concluded.

“There is no sanction table applicable to charges brought under rule 5.12, therefore the independent panel can issue a range of sanctions at their discretion – including fines and/or match bans and/or any other suitable sanction.”

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