Barbarians’ coronavirus breaches will not be investigated by police

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·2-min read

Former England captain Chris Robshaw and his Barbarians team-mates who broke coronavirus protocols last week will not face a police investigation.

Footage emerged on social media over the weekend showing a group from the invitational club engaging in a drinking session at the Running Horse pub in Mayfair.

It was one of two nights out that resulted in last Sunday’s non-cap international against England being cancelled, costing the Rugby Football Union in the region of £1million in lost broadcast and sponsorship revenue.

Robshaw was present with Sean Maitland, Jackson Wray, Joel Kpoku, Fergus McFadden and Manu Vunipola, amongst others, and the group appeared to break a number of coronavirus regulations.

However, the Metropolitan Police have declined to look into the players’ misconduct, which England’s World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward described as “ridiculously stupid”.

“The Met will not investigate COVID breaches retrospectively unless they are the most dangerous and flagrant breaches of the regulations. The Met is not investigating this incident,” a statement read.

The RFU is still investigating the events of last week and is expected to issue disrepute charges against a number of players by Friday.

Eddie Jones lost England's warm-up to the Six Nations finale
Eddie Jones lost England’s warm-up to their Six Nations finale (Andrew Milligan/PA)

All cases would be heard by an independent disciplinary panel appointed by the RFU, which is likely to convene for the first time next week.

Five players including Robshaw and his former England team-mate Richard Wigglesworth apologised on social media for breaching protocols.

The resulting loss in revenue from the Barbarians’ misdemeanour comes at a time when the RFU are battling a financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in 140 people being made redundant.

Furthermore, it robbed England of their warm-up for Saturday’s Six Nations finale against Italy when Eddie Jones’ men are aiming to win the title.