SA Rugby has approved the resumption of non-contact training for all amateur rugby – schools, clubs and associations – within specific safety conditions required by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken in view of the recent easing of adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations, with the current downward curve in the rates of infection.
Schools, associations and amateur clubs will only be allowed to resume non-contact training under the following strict circumstances:
• All the conditions for the return to training of contact sport as published in the relevant Government Gazettes and directions are met;
• On the publication of any further changes and amendments stipulated in the Government Gazettes and directions must be implemented immediately;
• Contact sports may only return to train and not to play;
• All the relevant and applicable health and safety measures are observed and that there is no physical contact between participants during training.
Meanwhile, SA Rugby also confirmed the restart of the amateur rugby season will follow a structured approach to ensure the health and safety of players and management are taken into consideration.
The initial phase comprises of a minimum of four weeks’ non-contact training where the emphasis will be on fitness, conditioning and strength training.
Phase two, if permitted by the relevant bodies, will see a minimum of four weeks’ gradual integration of contact training, paving the way for return to play in the third phase.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said this is an important step in getting the local amateur season off to a good start, but he emphasised the need for responsible behaviour from these rugby communities.
“SA Rugby is the custodian of rugby in the country but school sport falls under the auspices of the Department of Basic Education and they must therefore adhere to government’s rules and regulations,” said Roux.
“Schools have got their own COVID management committees, and together with the school headmaster they will provide the final say on whether the school participates in rugby or not.
“The ultimate responsible person will be the principal of each school. It remains our collective responsibility to ensure that the players and coaches who participate in the game of rugby do so in a safe environment and mitigates against the risk of unnecessary illness and injury.”
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, said while there will be excitement amongst these rugby communities, it is very important that they adhere to the protocols.
“Schools, clubs and associations have waited for a long time to restart training after such a prolonged absence away from the game because of the pandemic,” he said.
“Schools rugby is the foundation of our game and where our future Springboks are born. We’ve already lost an entire season and we’re working very hard at ensuring they play again this year, keeping in mind the fluidity of the pandemic.
“While they will no doubt be very excited for the prospects of restarting rugby activities, we must emphasise the importance of strict adherence to the guidelines of the Government, as well as SA Rugby’s own Covid-19 protocols.”
SA Rugby will immediately communicate any future changes that may affect amateur rugby as directed by Government.