Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Kearney's final match cancelled as Griffin's Barbarians crush South Africa

Rob Kearney did not get his BaaBaas swan song as positive COVID cases in the Barbarians squad rendered their match against Manu Samoa cancelled.

Rob Kearney did not get his BaaBaas swan song as positive COVID cases in the Barbarians squad rendered their match against Manu Samoa cancelled.

The match was due to be Kearney's final rugby match before his retirement, after he spent a season in Australia playing Super rugby with Western Force.

In a statement released on the Barbarians' Twitter account, it was confirmed that there were a number of COVID-19 cases in the representational side camp.

This is the second year in a row that COVID has forced the cancellation of a Barbarians game, as in 2020 their match against England was called off due to non-following of COVID protocols by the BaaBaas players.

The statement from the RFU on the matter read: "Due to six confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Barbarians 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 2.30 pm today is unable to proceed.

"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.

"Following consultation with the Barbarians Committee and South Africa, the fixture between Barbarians Women and Springbok Women’s XV will now move to the 2.30pm KO and all tickets purchased are valid for this match.

"The match will be broadcast live on BBC 1 with coverage starting at 2pm.

"A full automatic refund will be made to all ticket holders, however fans are encouraged to attend the Barbarians Women and Springbok Women’s XV."

Griffin, Peat steal the show for the Barbarians

As a result, the Women's match against Imbokodo, the South African women's team, took place at 2:30pm, live on BBC Sport.

The Barbarians would end up winning that match by 60-5. The BaaBaas squad included Ireland internationals Ciara Griffin, Lindsay Peat, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupa and Anna Caplice.

Griffin and Peat both scored in what is expected to be both of the Irish internationals' final match, with Griffin failing to convert the final try of the match.

Griffin Barbarians

Barbarian clarification

Following the cancellation of the men's match, the Barbarians released a further statement clarifying how the first match came to be cancelled.

The statement, which was posted to Twitter, read: "Despite the recent positive Covid tests, we had a fit 23 today who all tested negative this morning. They were ready & keen to take to the pitch against Manu Samoa.

"The whole squad complied to the letter with the Covid protocols throughout the week, including daily lateral flow tests.

"After today's results, we worked hard with the RFU, Public Health England and the Testing Oversight Committee, to find a way that we could play.

"Unfortunately, it was concluded on medical grounds that there was a risk to players on both sides should the game go ahead.

"All of our players are absolutely devastated they were unable to play today in front of an amazing and passionate crowd.

"We would like to thank our opponents and friends Manu Samoa for the sportsmanship they have shown, as well as for sharing their culture with us today. We also wish our unwell players a speedy recovery.

"We are now cheering on our Barbarian Women as they take on the Springbok Women's XV. It's an historic moment on BBC Sport for them and Women's rugby generally, so we wish them well and know they will do us all proud.

Following the cancellation of the match, Samoa still ran out in front of their fans to sing their national anthem, ahead of the Barbarians against South Africa encounter.

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Anna Caplice Barabarians Ciara Griffin Imbokodo Ireland Jenny Murphy Lindsay Peat Rob Kearney Sene Naoupa South Africa Springboks Women