By Maxwell Levine
Border Rugby leagues is set to start in June after SA Rugby gave the all-clear for school and club rugby to return-to-play.
The proposed date set for the Border Super and Premier League is 19 June. The 12-team Super League, the highest league in the region, will play one round of matches, meaning each team will be fixtured in 11 matches, home and away. The league will run until September. The same scenario will apply for the Premier League, which also consist of 12 teams.
However, there are two University teams participating in the Super League, namely Fort Hare Blues and Walter Sisulu University All Blacks, and their participation in June could be limited, depending when the Institutions have their winter break. If these matches of the two institutions is postponed, it will be played on a later date as scheduled by the fixture committee.
There might also be a delay to the start of the league due to clubs failing to adhere to compliance with regards to the return-to-play protocols.
“As we all know, clubs have been informed to apply to the compliance officer of Border Rugby with all relevant documentation of players who had the minimum four weeks of non-contact training, the four weeks of gradual contact training and the return-to-play, for them to be eligible to take part in any league fixtures. The green light and permission will only be given to those clubs who have complied with all of these regulations, “said Simphiwe Ntalantala of Border Rugby.
He continued by saying, “So far nearly all the Super Leagues clubs have complied, with only two clubs outstanding. In the Premier league it is still a struggle to get their compliance in order.”
As per the SA Rugby statement the following conditions are very important:
– All the conditions for the return to training of contact sport as published in the relevant Government Gazettes and Directions must be met and adhered to.
– No supporters are permitted to attend training or matches.
– Changes and amendments published in any further Government Gazettes and Directions must be implemented immediately.
– All the relevant and applicable health and safety measures are observed.
– SA Rugby’s Covid-19 Amateur Rugby Return To Train And Play Guidelines must be observed as well as the Safety and Health directives as per government regulations.
– Non-contact development programmes, such as Get Into Rugby and Vuka, are allowed to continue subject to the permission of the principal of each school.
Border Rugby is also planning a tournament to be played by all 24 teams prior to the start of the league fixtures. This tournament must first be endorsed by Saru Administrator Basil Haddad with funding coming from donors/sponsors.