By Maxwell Levine
Clubs and schools around the country have been injected with renewed hope that there will be some sort of rugby action this year after SA Rugby announced the commencement of training with immediate effect last week.
2020 was a year to forget for clubs and all aspiring school boys who dreamt of representing their schools at the highest level and obtaining junior contracts at various unions around the country.
Regarded as the most successful sporting code in South Africa, with the Junior Boks boasting a World U20 Championship, the Blitsbokke having won the HSBC Sevens Series numerous occasions and the Springboks boasting a record three World Cup titles, there is no doubt, that rugby is the no 1 sport.
In a statement by SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said, “ Due to the easing of Adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations and with infections rate on a downward curve a recommendation was made by the working group of SA Rugby, consisting of members from SA Rugby, Provincial Unions and the South African Schools Rugby Association (SASRA), to the SA Rugby’s Executive Committee who subsequently approved amateur rugby, including school’s rugby, to commence training with immediate effect but under strict conditions”.
The return to training, with the hope of returning to play must however, be under strict regulations with clubs following guidelines and requirements with certain documents having to be submitted to the Unions before training commence.
The resumption of amateur rugby will follow a structured approach to ensure that the safety of players is taken into consideration:
- Phase 1: A minimum of 4 weeks of non-contact training. The emphasis during this time will be focused on fitness and strength training.
- Phase 2: Following phase 1 (and if permitted by relevant authoritative bodies) a minimum of 4 weeks gradual integration of contact training.
- Phase 3: Return to play.
“It remains our collective responsibility to ensure that the players and coaches who participate in the game of rugby do so in an environment that does no harm and mitigates against the risk of unnecessary illness and injury”, concluded the statement.
In return, Border Rugby Union, through the administrator Basil Haddad, have also issued a communique outlining their return to training phase and requirements.
“Only once we have received consent to play, in due course, from SA Rugby, can we finalize and circulate fixtures for the 2021 competitions, but it is important to understand up-front that no club team will be permitted to participate in any competition unless and until any COVID-related regulations, guidelines and protocols in force at that time have been adhered to/implemented and appropriate consent to play has been granted, either by BRU or the applicable District Union”.
There is hope after all, that the rugby loving fraternity, will soon, enjoy the action on the sporting fields.