England-Barbarians game in doubt

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) is reviewing whether the Quilter Cup clash with the Barbarians can still go ahead on Sunday.

On the evening of Wednesday, 21 October a number of Barbarians players breached the agreed Covid-19 code-of-conduct protocol by leaving their hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.

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

The players leaving their Covid-19-secure environment has resulted in a potential risk of virus 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 these players are not infectious in the period up to and including the match.

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.

The RFU scheduled the Quilter Cup Barbarians fixture for performance purposes in order to provide a warm-up game ahead of the postponed Italy vs England Six Nations decider, however it will not compromise the safety of players to do so.

The RFU will provide an update on the match status by 3pm on Friday, 23 October. No details on the individuals who will be in or out of the revised Barbarians squad will be announced until the fixture is reconfirmed.

Barbarian FC has expressed it 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. The club is working closely with the RFU as they determine whether the Quilter Cup can go ahead.

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