Robshaw apologises after England-Barbarians is called off due COVID-19 protocol breach

By Sports Desk October 23, 2020

Chris Robshaw has expressed his "deepest apologies" after he was among the Barbarians players who breached coronavirus protocols, resulting in Sunday's clash with England being cancelled.

Former England captain Robshaw was due to make his final appearance in his homeland at Twickenham this weekend before joining Major League Rugby side San Diego Legion.

The Quilter Cup contest will not go ahead, though, after Harlequins legend Robshaw was one of a number - reportedly a dozen - of Baa-Baas players to breach strict regulations.

An investigation was launched by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after members of the squad left the team hotel without permission or informing organisers about their whereabouts on Wednesday. 

The players in question were separated from the rest of the group in the bubble upon their return. 

It was then confirmed by the RFU on Friday that an earlier undisclosed breach of the COVID-19 rules took place on Tuesday, with Barbarians players leaving the hotel without permission and not isolating from team-mates after they returned. 

The RFU stated it had no alternative but to call the contest off.

Robshaw held his hands up in a remorseful twitter post, writing: "I want to express my deepest apologies for breaching Barbarians COVID-19 restrictions by leaving the hotel post-training with some of my team-mates.

"A huge effort went into conducting this match in a safe fashion and it was irresponsible of me to break the protocols which are put in place to protect players, staff and the public

"I understand that my actions have ultimately contributed to the cancellation of Sunday's match and I am sincerely remorseful for my role in undoing all the amazing work that went into trying to make it happen. I promise that I will learn from this mistake and ensure something like this never happens again."

The match was due to give England some playing time a week before they face Italy in a decisive final Six Nations match against Italy in Rome.

England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward was left in "disbelief" at the behaviour of the players.

"I'm sure they're feeling incredibly stupid and incredibly embarrassed. It's just stupidity, they've been ridiculously stupid," Woodward told talkSPORT. 

"My reaction was just kind of gobsmacked really. These are professional players and they know what's at stake. It's live on TV, it's a game that everyone was looking forward to. 

"I can't believe they've been so naive and stupid to think they can get away with it. People could see them, they're well-known people. I just shake my head in disbelief." 

Related items

  • Hamilton 'devastated' to miss Sakhir GP after positive coronavirus test Hamilton 'devastated' to miss Sakhir GP after positive coronavirus test

    Lewis Hamilton is "devastated" that he will miss this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton awoke with mild symptoms on Monday and returned a positive test for COVID-19.

    According to Mercedes, he found out on the same day that a close contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain for last weekend's race had also tested positive.

    The team also said Hamilton tested negative three times prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Hamilton is expected to be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne or Esteban Gutierrez for the second race at Bahrain International Circuit.

    In a statement posted on social media, Hamilton wrote: "I'm devastated that I won't be racing this weekend. Since we started the season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possible can and following the regulations everywhere we've been in order to stay safe.

    "Unfortunately, even though I returned three negative results this past week, I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I've immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days.

    "I'm gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. I'm really lucky that I feel ok with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy.

    "Please look after yourselves out there, you can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive."

    Hamilton wrapped up the title in Turkey last month and triumphed in Sunday's first race in Bahrain.

  • Matera stripped of Argentina captaincy and suspended over 'discriminatory' posts Matera stripped of Argentina captaincy and suspended over 'discriminatory' posts

    Pablo Matera has been stripped of the Pumas captaincy and suspended over "discriminatory and xenophobic" social media posts between 2011 and 2013, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) has confirmed.

    Guido Petti and Santiago Socino have also been stood down from international duty ahead of Saturday's Tri Nations meeting with Australia at Bankwest Stadium.

    Further sanctions could follow for the trio after a disciplinary process was initiated.

    A UAR statement read: "The Argentine Rugby Union rejects the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Pumas squad on social networks.

    "Meeting urgently, the board of directors resolves in the first place to revoke the captaincy of Pablo Matera and request the staff to propose a new captain to the board of directors.

    "Secondly, to suspend Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino from the national team until their disciplinary situation is defined.

    "Although the messages were published between 2011 and 2013 and do not represent the personal integrity the three showed during that time with the Pumas, the Argentine Rugby Union condemns any expression of hatred and we consider it unacceptable that those who express them represent our country."

    Following the publication of the UAR statement, Matera deactivated his Twitter account.

    Matera, Petti and Socino all reportedly published apologies on Instagram before setting their profiles to private.

  • Hamilton to miss Sakhir GP after positive COVID-19 test Hamilton to miss Sakhir GP after positive COVID-19 test

    Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, Mercedes have announced.

    The seven-time Formula One champion has returned two positive results since Monday, when he was informed a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain had contracted the virus.

    Mercedes said Hamilton, who is in isolation with mild symptoms, had tested negative three times prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix last week.

    While the Silver Arrows have not confirmed who will stand in for Hamilton, their official reserve drivers are Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez.

    A team statement read: "The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team regrets to announce that Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to take part in this weekend's Sakhir GP.

    "Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme.  

    "However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.

    "Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain. Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery.

    "We will announce our replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course."

    Hamilton sealed the F1 title at the Turkish Grand Prix and was triumphant in the first part of a double-header in Bahrain on Sunday.

    He becomes the third driver to miss a grand prix after a positive coronavirus test, following Sergio Perez at Silverstone – where he sat out both races – and Lance Stroll in Germany.

    Nico Hulkenberg stepped in for Racing Point when Perez and Stroll were ruled out and could be an option for Mercedes this weekend too.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.