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Men's Rugby Union Players to decide on their own how to show solidarity with BLM movement

ENGLAND players will choose individually how they wish to mark the Black Lives Matter movement before today’s Six Nations clash with Italy.

The title match in Rome is their first opportunity to show solidarity for the cause following a seven-month interruption to Test rugby because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the anthems at the Stadio Olimpico, Six Nations organisers have scheduled time for a moment’s silence during which teams are able to demonstrate their support for BLM.

Eddie Jones’s squad have been in camp for the past three weeks and their stance on the issue would have been clear at Twickenham last Sunday, only for their annual fixture against the Barbarians to be cancelled.

Billy Vunipola, the Saracens No 8, revealed that each player is to choose how or if they wish to recognise BLM.

“We talked about it the first week we got in and we broached the matter before we were going to play the Barbarians,” Vunipola said.

“Like anything in life, it’s a personal choice and the leaders made that clear. They made everyone in the room comfortable with what they wanted to do to mark it and we need to respect each others’ opinions, different or the same.

“That’s where we’ve left it. You’ll probably see that tomorrow (Saturday). It has been an ongoing discussion, not just a one-off.”

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