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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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'I am seething about the comments' - Baa-Baas' boss considering legal action

By Ian Cameron
Getty Images

Barbarians president John Spencer has said he is considering legal action against two internationals after comments in the aftermath of the cancellation of their game against Samoa.

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The invitational side, coached by Dave Rennie were due to meet the Pacific islanders at Twickenham in London but the match was called off just 90 minutes before kick-off because of the outbreak in the Baa-Baas’ squad.

It was reported the positive cases covered Barbarians players and staff from Australia, Japan and South Africa.

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Dylan Hartley said that the cancellation was ‘beyond embarassing’ and former Wales flyhalf Jonathan Davies said it was an ‘utter shambles and disgrace’. It is the second Barbarians match in a row in Twickenham cancelled at the 11th hour due to Covid-19 related issues in the camp.

Spencer is furious.

‘I am seething about the comments of Jonathan Davies and Dylan Hartley,” Spencer told Chris Jones in The Times. “We are accused of being disorganised and a shambles and our main concern is to ensure there is no long-term harm to the Barbarians. As a lawyer I am seriously considering our [legal] position on this and it is in my mind.

“We could not have been more careful this time and the players have been more than responsible. The team and management were tested every day and we also had PCR tests on Friday and we had a team ready to go onto the pitch that was Covid free.”

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Welsh great turned pundit Davies said: ‘This is an utter shambles and disgrace. They have promoted the game and Samoa pulled out all the stops to get here without their full-strength squad, ironically, due to Covid restrictions some could not travel. And now this! They get all this way here and it is called off so close to kick-off. It’s not good enough.

‘After the shambles of last year too when some of the Barbarians broke the bubble and had to be replaced, it is unforgivable.’

The Barbarians have said they had a fit 23 to take the pitch but that the decision was taken out of their hands by Public Health England and the Professional Game Testing Oversight Group.

“Due to six confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Barbarian’s men’s team (four players and two members of staff), the Professional Game Testing Oversight Group has advised that the fixture scheduled to be played against Samoa at 2.30pm today is unable to proceed,” the RFU said in a statement. ‘We appreciate that this is an extremely disappointing situation for the many fans due to attend, but the safety of all members of both teams is our priority.’

Ticket holders were refunded.

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