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Sport

England hope to have 20,000 fans at Twickenham for Barbarians clash

(Reuters) - England’s rescheduled match against the Barbarians will be played on Oct. 25 with 20,000 supporters set to attend the game at Twickenham pending approval from public health authorities, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Wednesday.

The match, originally scheduled to take place on June 21 was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and will be played before England travel to Italy for their rearranged final game in the Six Nations.

“This game will be an important start to the autumn for us. We’re excited to represent England. We’ll train and prepare well and are looking forward to being back at Twickenham Stadium,” England head coach Eddie Jones said in a statement.

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said the body was working closely with government and the local authority on the return of fans to Twickenham, which has a total capacity of 82,000.

“The number of fans able to attend, given social distancing requirements, will be significantly lower than normal and subject to final agreement from government,” Sweeney said.

“Local resident and spectator safety is our top priority and numerous measures are being implemented for the events that either adhere to or exceed the guidance provided by the government and the Sports Ground Safety Authority.

The RFU statement added: “The Metropolitan Police is supportive of the plans in place to manage the return of fans to the stadium.”

Sweeney said that a test event will be held to put into practice their operational plans and demonstrate that Twickenham is well prepared.

Jones’ England face on Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Oct. 31 in a rescheduled Six Nations clash.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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