England's scheduled clash with the Barbarians on Sunday could be called off, after a number of Baa-Baas players broke coronavirus rules by leaving the team hotel on Wednesday night.
The game now depends on the Barbarians finding replacement players with recent negative Covid-19 tests.
Former England captain Chris Robshaw and a number of Saracens players are understood to be among the 12 players who breached the agreed code of conduct.
The RFU is reviewing if this Sunday's Quilter Cup fixture against the Barbarians can still go ahead following a breach of Covid protocols by several Barbarians players.
The RFU will provide an update on the match status by 3pm on Friday 23 October.
More details below.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 22, 2020
In a statement, the RFU explained the situation:
"On the evening of 21 October 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.
"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-secure environment has resulted in a potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble, and even with a further round of 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 Barbarians also released a statement of their own on Thursday afternoon, saying they were disappointed by the events that had transpired.
There has been a breach of the agreed Covid-19 code of conduct which every player & staff member signed prior to attending camp.
We are extremely disappointed in the actions of the players involved & do not in any way condone their conduct. #Baabaas #rugby #rugbyunited 🏉 pic.twitter.com/wnLcbpR4jH
— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) October 22, 2020
"There has been a breach of the agreed Covid-19 code of conduct which every player and staff member signed prior to attending camp.
"We are extremely disappointed in the actions of the players involved and do not in any way condone their conduct.
"England rugby are now assessing whether the Quilter Cup can happen and we're working with them to do everything we can to make this possible.
"We're proud of those players who acted responsibly showing an understanding of the importance of getting rugby back for fans."
They went on to ask people not to continue asking for the names of the players who had broken the rules.
"To those asking us to name names - Due to ongoing discussions we are unable to do so. When the time comes, we’d ask everyone to treat the players with respect & remember the core values of rugby & our club. In 2020, kindness & compassion go a long way."
Team of Us. Everyone In.
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