• ‘The news we’ve been waiting for’

    SA Rugby on Saturday welcomed the announcement that professional sports teams could begin the process of returning to training under level-3 lockdown easing.

    Nathi Mthethwa, Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture, made the announcement at a briefing on Saturday as he reported on the department’s Covid-19 sector relief fund.

    READ: Hope for rugby’s return to training

    Mthethwa said sports teams had 14 days to submit proposals to the department on how they would ensure the safety of the players and officials.

    He also announced that non-contact sports could return to play, if they observed all the necessary regulations.

    ‘This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play,’ said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

    ‘We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately.

    ‘We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training.

    ‘But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown-training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play.’

    SA Rugby announced the suspension of all rugby on 18 March.

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