England-Barbarians cancelled due to second Covid-19 breach

London (AFP) –

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England's match against the Barbarians this weekend has been cancelled after a breach of coronavirus regulations by Barbarian players, the Rugby Football Union announced Friday.

The RFU said an investigation had revealed a second incident where Covid-19 rules were flouted in addition to the October 21 case announced Thursday.

Former England captain Chris Robshaw was among those reported to have broken the rules by leaving the Barbarians hotel on Wednesday to have dinner.

That left the invitational side trying to fill gaps in their squad ahead of Sunday's match at Twickenham, designed to act as a warm-up for England's delayed Six Nations international away to Italy in Rome next week.

But the RFU said the discovery of a second incident where the rules were flouted meant it was left with no option but to call off the match.

"As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on October 21, the RFU has 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," said an RFU statement.

"The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on October 20 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 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."