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Hotel bubble breach by Barbarians could see Sunday's England game cancelled

By Liam Heagney

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Sunday’s match between England and the Barbarians has been plunged into doubt as a number of Baa-Baas players allegedly breached the agreed Covid code of conduct protocol by leaving their hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.

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On their return, the players were immediately separated from the rest of the group in the bubble in order to protect its integrity.

An RFU statement read: “The players leaving their Covid-secure environment has resulted in a potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble, and even with a further round of PCR testing for this group it will not be possible to guarantee that these players are not infectious in the period up to and including the match.  

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“Therefore to protect the safety of other participants, these players cannot be permitted to remain with the Barbarians squad and play in Sunday’s fixture.

“If sufficient new players with an appropriate testing history and who have been meeting the code of conduct standards can be to be brought into the Barbarians camp then the game will go ahead.”

England had scheduled the Quilter Cup Barbarians fixture to provide a warm-up game ahead of the rescheduled October 31 Guinness Six Nations decider against Italy in Rome.

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Barbarians officials have expressed their extreme disappointment in the conduct of the players involved and have taken all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the players and staff within the bubble. They are now working closely with the RFU to determine whether the Quilter Cup can go ahead.

The RFU will provide an update on the match status by 3pm on Friday, with no details on the individuals who will be in or out of the revised Barbarians squad to be announced until the fixture is re-confirmed. The Barbarians squad coached by Vern Cotter largely consisted of players chosen from Saracens and Fiji.

 

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Hotel bubble breach by Barbarians could see Sunday's England game cancelled

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