We all know what a Barbarians week is normally all about and everyone makes mistakes but players should know better in the situation we’re in at the moment.


It’s not like they’ve been short of reminders of what the consequences of not adhering to the rules of these kinds of bubbles are after Jofra Archer and then Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden hit the headlines in cricket and football in recent months.

It’s an honour to play for the Barbarians and this has cost a lot of people the opportunity to play for both the infamous invitational side and England.

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Dylan Hartley’s Prem final red card

The game being cancelled is one thing but their actions have a number of knock-on effects beyond just the obvious disappointment that we aren’t going to see the spectacle of an England v Barbarians encounter.

The players have a responsibility to their team-mates and those in the opposition, to the unions who have lots of money on the line and are in financial trouble and, most importantly, to the fans.

Rugby players have had to endure pay cuts and have been affected by this pandemic, of course, but they still have the privilege of doing a job they love and a lot of people across the country aren’t so fortunate.


Sport provides a release and an opportunity for people around the world to watch and enjoy and have a smile put on their face and the players have a responsibility to do whatever they can to give people that.

If that means not leaving a hotel, then so be it. It may seem like a minor misdemeanour but there will be fans looking at this news who obviously want to watch the game on television, they can’t do so in the stadium after all, but would also love to be out there playing.

Not at Twickenham, just at their local club. There are rugby clubs up and down the country having to ask the government for funding to keep them afloat and amateur players who are missing the game so badly so it won’t come across well to them.

It also has a knock-on effect to England and the upcoming Six Nations conclusion and Autumn Nations Cup. If guidelines aren’t followed, there might have been implications for those games.


Plus, there are Fijians in that Barbarians squad, for example, and if they are forced to isolate, it would have a massive impact on Fiji in the upcoming autumn games.

It’s taken a lot of time and work to get rugby back at the top level on these shores and it may be frustrating and I’m sure a lot of people will empathise with the players but if you sign up to certain protocols, you simply have to abide by them.

It’s difficult for everyone and nobody has experienced anything like this pandemic before so people are going to make mistakes but the stakes are high and the players should know better.

Things are a bit different in the Premiership with not quite such a strict bubble but we’ve seen what can happen when there is a case in a rugby environment at Sale and Wasps, in particular, in recent weeks.

Thankfully, Wasps acted swiftly and decisively and have been able to field a very strong side in the Premiership final because everybody went into isolation as soon as an issue was raised but their preparations for the game have obviously been affected.

It could have been very different if they hadn’t done so, which would have been dreadful for the integrity of the competition, but we have an epic final to look forward to and it’s a reminder of how important it is to do the right thing and follow the guidelines.

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