England-Barbarians in doubt following COVID-19 breach

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

England's Six Nations warm-up match against the Barbarians on Sunday is in doubt after a number of the invitational side's players breached COVID-19 protocols, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced on Thursday.

Eddie Jones' England team were due to face the Barbarians at Twickenham prior to their final Six Nations game against Italy on Oct. 31.

The RFU said in a statement: "On the evening of Oct. 21 a number of Barbarians players breached the agreed Covid code of conduct protocol by leaving their hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts."

The Barbarians were due to stay in a secure bubble in the run up to Sunday's match, but the RFU said the breach means it is "not possible to guarantee that these players [who breached protocol] are not infectious in the period up to and including the match."

As a result, the players who have breached Covid procedures have been excluded from the squad picked to face England.

Sources told ESPN, the Barbarians will have to find 12 new players ahead of Sunday's game, who have an appropriate testing history and meet the RFU's code of conduct.

The statement continued: "Barbarian F.C. have expressed their 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 are working closely with the RFU as they determine whether the Quilter Cup can go ahead."

The RFU said an update will be provided on the status of the match by 15:00 BST on Oct 23, and no details on the individuals included or excluded from the revised Barbarians squad will be announced until the fixture is re-confirmed.