Barbarians: RFU bans 13 players over coronavirus breaches


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General view of an England training session at Twickenham
The match was due to take place at Twickenham in October

Thirteen Barbarians players have been given bans by the Rugby Football Union for their part in October’s game against England having to be cancelled.

The players breached coronavirus protocols and the cancellation of the match cost the RFU about £1m in lost broadcast and sponsorship revenue.

All players accepted the charges.

Chris Robshaw, Alex Lewington, Fergus McFadden, Juan Pablo Socino, Richard Wigglesworth and Jackson Wray will all serve four-week suspensions.

They were all part of a group who left the team “bubble” twice and were found to have misled the investigation.

They were initially given 10-week bans, but those were reduced to five weeks “as a result of their timely acceptance of culpability and the players’ other mitigation”, of which three are suspended subject to there being no further off-field offending by the players for one year.

Lewington, Robshaw, Wray and Wigglesworth are also to conduct 50 hours of unpaid rugby community work, while that figure is 60 hours for McFadden and Socino.

However, all six received another two-week suspension for giving a false account.

All bar McFadden have also been fined two weeks’ wages.

“The sanctions reflect the seriousness of the charges which include behaving in a way that ignored what the public at large and the rugby community were complying with and deliberately compromising an investigation being carried out by the RFU as swiftly as the circumstances demanded,” the governing body said in a statement.

Calum Clark, Sean Maitland and Tim Swinson all received a four-week ban – three of which are suspended – Tom de Glanville, Joel Kpoku and Manu Vunipola were given three-week suspensions, and Simon Kerrod got a two-week ban.

More to follow.

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