Sir Clive Woodward has voiced his disbelief at the “stupidity” of a group of Barbarians players for a breach of coronavirus protocols that has placed Sunday’s fixture against England in doubt.
Seasoned veterans Chris Robshaw, Richard Wigglesworth and Sean Maitland were among a contingent of 12 who left the team hotel in central London on Wednesday night in order to have dinner.
The Barbarians are scrambling to fill the gaps in their squad before a deadline of 3pm set by the Rugby Football Union, who are investigating the breach with a view to summoning any transgressors before an independent disciplinary hearing.
Woodward, England’s World Cup-winning coach, is scathing of those whose outside contact risked bringing Covid-19 into the hotel bubble.
“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.
“I can believe the Barbarians didn’t sit down and spell it out – A, B, C. This is what you can do and this is what you can’t do. Everyone who steps out of this bubble, you’re gone. You’re history.
“It’s called a bubble for that reason. Some of the players went out, some of them didn’t. Some players listened, some haven’t, which makes it even worse in many respects.”