A number of Barbarians players – including former England captain Chris Robshaw – have offered an apology on Twitter for breaching the Covid code of conduct this week resulting in their match with England to be cancelled. 

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Sunday’s annual fixture, already rescheduled from June, has now been called off after it was revealed that twelve players left the Covid-secure team hotel in London. 

CEO of the Rugby Football Union Bill Sweeney shared this on Friday afternoon: “There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely.

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“We are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

Robshaw was one of those players to have left the bubble and he shared this message: “I want to express my deepest apologies for breaching the Barbarians Covid-19 restrictions by leaving the hotel post-training with some of my teammates. 

“A huge effort went into conducting this match in a safe fashion and it was irresponsible of me to break the protocols which are put in place to protect players, staff and the public. 

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“I understand that my actions have ultimately contributed to the cancellation of Sunday’s match and I’m sincerely remorseful for my role in undoing all the amazing work that went into trying to make it happen. I promise that I will learn from this mistake and ensure something like this never happens again.” 

Ironically, Robshaw may be the player that misses out the most from this cancellation as this was to be his final appearance on English soil before joining Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion. The flanker has already played his last match for Harlequins, and this was to be his swansong at Twickenham. 

Another England veteran, Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth, also shared a message: “Embarrassed and beyond gutted to have let Vern Cotter and the Barbarians down as well as the RFU. Should not have happened and for that I am truly sorry. I’ve let a lot of people down including myself and wish I’d done it differently. Sorry again.” 

Wigglesworth’s Saracens teammate Jackson Wray has also apologised, saying that he is “devastated” the match is cancelled. 

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Eddie Jones is now left without a match ahead of England’s Guinness Six Nations encounter with Italy in Rome next weekend, and the irony is that it’s actually some of his former players that have scuppered his plans.

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