Stormers reveal how ‘new-look’ training would work

Coach John Dobson has confirmed the Stormers would enforce a ‘two-squad’ system to combat any possible positive Covid-19 infections when a return to training is possible.

Although it remains unclear when South African rugby players will be able to resume training as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought an unprecedented halt to the game, there has been plenty of planning going on behind the scenes.

For example, the focus for Dobson and his coaching team has begun to shift to preparing the players for a return to rugby, whenever it is safe to do so.

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Dobson explained that there are already a number of plans in place to ensure that the Stormers are able to navigate what will be a completely different sporting landscape given the impact of the pandemic.

‘We are going to go through another pre-season which will be a great opportunity to get the new players and those returning from injury back into how we are working, conditioned properly and enjoying the culture. So, this is a vital period coming up.

‘We will probably start with individuals, then move to stacks, which are groups of seven or eight and then into collective training and then the games.

‘We have to be really careful when we get together as a group, we can control the training facility and we have some really good protocols and plans in place for that,’ he said.

This will also involve operating a type of ‘two-squad’ system, as Dobson detailed.

‘The consequence of a positive test is that the rest of the guys that person has been in contact with are out for two weeks, so if we do get a positive test, that squad won’t be able to play the next game.

‘We will probably be working around the idea of having two squads who never touch or mix. We are lucky with our depth that we could probably do that, or we could overlap if everybody is clear.

‘The screening is of course going to be very regular, but we would not have our entire squad training together the week before the game because we run the risk of putting them all into isolation,’ the coach added.

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