• Barbarians players charged over Covid-19 breach

    The English Rugby Football Union (RFU) has charged 13 Barbarians players after the Test against England was cancelled because of Covid-19 protocol breaches.

    The RFU said in a statement on Wednesday evening that 13 Barbarians players are facing charges including ‘individual breaches of the protocols’ and ‘providing false statements during an investigation’.

    It is not clear which players have been charged as England’s governing body said it would only publish their names after the hearings due to the public scrutiny they would face. It is thought that former England captain Chris Robshaw, who apologised for the breach, is among those charged.

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    Players may face fines, match bans or ‘any other suitable sanction’, but there will be no police investigation into their actions.

    As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU stated last Friday that they had discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.

    The players reportedly left their hotel to have dinner and a number of players also went to a London pub.

    The RFU concluded that the players leaving their Covid-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 and was left with no choice but to cancel last Sunday’s match at Twickenham.

    Aside from the losses of revenue, the cancellation meant that England would go into their final Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday, having not been in competitive action since March.

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