Saracens have apologised after a group of players including England international Billy Vunipola were pictured breaching social-distancing measures.
Photographs emerged on Thursday of Vunipola, Alex Goode, Nick Isiekwe, Sean Maitland and Josh Ibuanokpe meeting in a close huddle in St Albans.
The United Kingdom government has urged the public to remain at least two metres apart to slow the spread of coronavirus.
A widely reported Sarries statement read: “The club was very disappointed to learn about a small group of Saracens players being sighted together in St Albans.
“The government guidelines on social distancing and public gatherings of more than two people are very clear, and the club has been vigorous in its messaging to all players and staff members about the importance of adhering to these guidelines whilst in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Management has spoken to the players involved, all of whom accept they made an error of judgment and have apologised for any upset they may have caused.
“The club has reminded these players as well as the whole Saracens squad of their responsibilities to themselves and the community around them, and we are confident this will not happen again.”
Vunipola was last year formally warned by the club after defending Israel Folau’s controversial social media posts that led to the termination of his Rugby Australia contract.
The Premiership season has been paused amid the COVID-19 crisis, but Sarries had already been relegated due to a points deduction.
The reigning Premiership champions and European Champions Cup holders were punished for salary-cap breaches.
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