Vunipola, Saracens group sorry for lockdown breach

Rugby

England international Billy Vunipola was among five Saracens players who have apologised for violating the country’s lockdown rules during the coronavirus pandemic, the English Premiership club said on Thursday.

Vunipola and teammates Alex Goode, Sean Maitland, Nick Isiekwe and Josh Ibuanokpe were pictured meeting for coffee in St. Albans, Hertfordshire on Monday.

People from different households have been barred from socialising since the British government brought in lockdown measures on March 23. Essential travel is only allowed if social distancing is maintained — this requires keeping a distance of at least two metres from people outside of your household.

Saracens said in a statement that they have spoken to the players, who accepted they had made an error in judgement.

“The club was very disappointed to learn about a small group of players being sighted together in St Albans,” the club said.

“The government guidelines on social distancing are very clear and the club has been vigorous in its messaging to all players and staff about the importance of adhering to these guidelines.

“Management has spoken to the players involved, all of whom have apologised for any upset they may have caused. We are confident this will not happen again.”

England’s top-flight rugby season has been suspended since March, and Vunipola was among several Saracens players asked to take pay cuts during the coronavirus crisis.

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