Rugby Italian XV have been forced to withdraw from next week’s event due to Covid-19 regulations.
While travel from the United Kingdom to Italy is permitted with proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result, and no quarantine period required, travellers from Bermuda to the former do not fall under the same regulations – despite the island being a British Overseas Territory – resulting in a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.
“It is a frustrating situation” said John Kane, president of the World Rugby Classic.
“Bermuda is on the UK ‘green list’, Italy is on the UK ‘green list’ but Bermuda is not on any list in Italy. The result is the players would have to quarantine, after returning from Bermuda for 14 days and that is quite impossible.”
Kane admitted every effort was made to keep the Italian team in the Classic, but in the end had to concede defeat.
“We have worked though the Italian Consul here and in New York, while the Italian management has been in contact with their Department of Health as well as involving the Olympic Association in Rome, but all to no avail,” he added.
“We have provided details of the Covid situation in Bermuda, as well as the steps we have taken to keep everyone safe, but have hit a brick wall.
“It is a disappointing outcome trying to deal with rules which are different from country to country.”
Despite the setback, the latest withdrawal means that Bermuda have once again been reinstated into the tournament.
The Bermuda team, which will be led by national head coach Jamie Barnwell, were previously confirmed as a late replacement for the USA Classic Eagles, who withdrew after losing their main sponsor.
However, after the Ireland Legends team also opted to pull out, organisers withdrew the invitation to the Bermuda team, citing the event could not be run with an odd number of teams.
Stepping in to fill the void at short notice once again, they will kick off proceedings in the opening match against Canada on Monday evening, followed by France Classic Rugby against Lions Rugby Legends.
“It is important to show, like the PGA Golf Tournament, that Bermuda is open for business as any people here rely on the income the events generate in these difficult times,” Kane added.