The Killik Cup clash between the Barbarians and Samoa was less than two hours away from Saturday’s kick-off when it was confirmed the fixture had been called off due to a Covid-19 breakout
Image: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)
The Barbarians have once again seen a fixture cancelled following a coronavirus spike after it was confirmed Saturday’s clash against Samoa was called off 90 minutes before kick-off.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced four players and two members of staff from the Barbarians squad had tested positive for Covid-19, leading to the cancellation of one of rugby ‘s biggest fixtures this weekend.
Twickenham was due to host the Baa Baas one year after their scheduled clash against England was also pulled, with 12 testing positive on late notice on that occasion.
“Due to six confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Barbarian’s men’s team (four players and two members of staff), the Professional Game Testing Oversight Group has advised that the fixture scheduled to be played against Samoa at 2.30pm today is unable to proceed,” said the RFU in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“We appreciate that this is an extremely disappointing situation for the many fans due to attend, but the safety of all members of both teams is our priority.”
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It was also confirmed that the match between Barbarians Women and the Springbok Women’s XV will be moved up into the men’s time slot, with the RFU encouraging supporters to still travel and attend that fixture.
This was due to be the first time that the Barbarians have staged men’s and women’s fixtures on the same day.
Despite the cancellation, Samoa used the opportunity to step out on the Twickenham turf and perform their haka, the Manu Siva Tau, as well as line up for their national anthem.
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The official Barbarians Twitter account assured the squad “complied to the letter with the Covid protocols throughout the week” and could have still fielded a fit squad of 23 players who tested negative on Saturday.
It was also specified they worked to find a resolution for the game to go ahead, but after consulting with the RFU, Public Health England and the Testing Oversight Committee, it was considered too great a medical risk to play on.
Any fans who had purchased tickets for the game will be issued a “full automatic refund,” though there are sure to be frustrated supporters who had travelled to witness the fixture.
Australia head coach Dave Rennie said the invitational team had enjoyed “a great week” building up to their clash against Samoa, with former Scotland flanker Ryan Wilson set to skipper the side.
There was a heavy southern-hemisphere theme among the squad with South Africa stars like Duane Vermeulen and Malcolm Marx set to start alongside Wallabies James O’Connor, Len Ikitau and more.
The match was also supposed to be the final rugby match in the career of former Ireland and British and Irish Lions full-back Rob Kearney, who confirmed he’d officially retire after the fixture.