COVID-19 claims international match
BREAKING NEWS: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of one of the first international match since the game’s return.
The Rugby Football Union confirmed it has cancelled England’s non-cap international against the Barbarians – scheduled for Sunday, October 25.
“As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the COVID-19 code of conduct that took place on October 21, the RFU has today [Friday] discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on October 20 – when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts,” a statement from the RFU said.
“The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their COVID-19-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
“The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.”
Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play.
“However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against in this year-end series.
“There has been a great deal of effort put into COVID-19 codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and 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.”
The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.