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England game against Barbarians off after protocol breaches

LONDON (AP) — England's rugby match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday has been canceled because of breaches of COVID-19 protocols, the Rugby Football Union said Friday.

An RFU investigation found that a number of Barbarians players left their hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday without permission and without informing organizers about their whereabouts.

The players who left Tuesday did not isolate themselves upon returning, which “resulted in the bubble environment being compromised,” the RFU said, citing risks to other players, coaches and staff.

“The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game,” it said.

The RFU said it won't specify the number of players involved nor identify them until its ongoing investigation is complete.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said he is “incredibly disappointed” but that health comes first, especially with England preparing to play this autumn.

Considering the effort to establish protocols and make arrangements with Premiership clubs, Sweeney said, “we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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