‘Seething’ Barbarians president considers legal action against Jonathan Davies and Dylan Hartley for branding the 11th hour cancellation of Saturday’s Samoa clash ‘an utter shambles’ and ‘beyond embarrassing’
- Barbarians called off their match against Samoa just 90 mins before kick-off
- There were six positive Covid-19 tests in the Barbarians camp before the game
- Dylan Hartley and Jonathan Davies were fiercely critical of the Barbarians
- That has led to the Barbarians seriously considering legal action against the duo
The president of the Barbarians, John Spencer, is considering legal action against former England captain Dylan Hartley and Jonathan Davies for their stinging criticism after the Barbarians game against Samoa was called off 90 minutes before kick-off.
Six positive Covid tests in the Barbarians camp curtailed the match at Twickenham on Saturday but BBC rugby pundit Davies, a former Wales international, said the cancellation was an ‘utter shambles’, while Hartley labelled it ‘beyond embarrassing’.
Last year a Barbarians game against England was called off at short notice when 13 players breached Covid protocols shortly before the match.
Saturday’s clash between Barbarians and Samoa was called off after a Covid-19 outbreak
Former England captain Dylan Hartley (left) labelled the Barbarians’ cancellation of the Samoa match ‘beyond embarrassing’, while former Wales international Jonathan Davies (right) said that the cancellation was an ‘utter shambles’
Speaking to The Times, Spencer said: ‘I am seething about the comments of Jonathan Davies and Dylan Hartley.
‘We are accused of being disorganised and a shambles and our main concern is to ensure there is no long-term harm to the Barbarians. As a lawyer I am seriously considering our [legal] position on this and it is in my mind.
‘We could not have been more careful this time and the players have been more than responsible. The team and management were tested every day and we also had PCR tests on Friday and we had a team ready to go onto the pitch that was Covid free.’
But now Barbarians president John Spencer is considering legal action against the duo
Wales legend Davies said that the 11th-hour cancellation was ‘not good enough’.
‘This is an utter shambles and disgrace,’ he said. ‘They have promoted the game and Samoa pulled out all the stops to get here without their full-strength squad, ironically, due to Covid restrictions some could not travel. And now this! They get all this way here and it is called off so close to kick-off. It’s not good enough.
‘After the shambles of last year too when some of the Barbarians broke the bubble and had to be replaced, it is unforgivable.’
The Barbarians claimed in a statement on Saturday that the decision to pull the plug was taken out of their hands.
Samoa’s players still performed their traditional pre-match war dance – the Manu Siva Tau – for their fans at Twickenham after the match with the Barbarians was cancelled due to Covid
Their statement read: ‘Despite the recent positive Covid tests, we had a fit 23 today who all tested negative this morning.
‘They were ready and keen to take to the pitch. The 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. Our players are absolutely devastated they were unable to play today.’
Almost 41,000 tickets had been sold for the match, which also included a double-header with the equivalent women’s match. That game went ahead and 29,000 still attended to watch it.
Samoa’s players still performed their traditional pre-match war dance – the Manu Siva Tau – for their fans at Twickenham after the match with the Barbarians was cancelled.