Varsities, clubs to resume contact training

SA Rugby has announced that all clubs from U19 level upwards will be permitted to move to contact training from Monday, 15 March.

This is part of phase two of SA Rugby’s integrated return to train-and-play plan. Senior club teams will be able start contact training next Monday, provided all players had undertaken non-contact training for at least four weeks.

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However, schools and junior club teams (U18 and below) are not permitted to move to phase two of the training strategy, and no amateur rugby matches are allowed to take place (clubs, schools and associations) for the time being.

Clubs must strictly adhere to all the Covid-19 protocols and any club player wishing to continue to contact training must have completed the compulsory four-week block of non-contact training.

The SA Rugby executive committee approved the recommendations that clubs and associations (above U18 level) can start making contact at training, but prohibited any form of matches – friendly or competitive – at amateur level. This excludes non-contact versions of rugby, namely TAG and touch, which are allowed to stage matches, without any supporters.

‘The final decision regarding whether a club can start non-contact training or continue to contact training will rest with the relevant union and/or the chairperson or compliance officer of the specific club,’ said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

‘Schools rugby falls under the auspices of the Department of Basic Education [DBE] and will remain on non-contact training until such a time that the DBE permits these teams to progress in their preparations. These restrictions include all club sides from U8 to U18 level too.

‘We are expecting a decision by the DBE on the next steps for schools in due course and are working closely with the relevant stakeholders to ensure swift progress in this regard.’

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.

The return to play for amateur rugby (phase three) will be discussed and considered early next month, to ensure a decision is made for a possible start by the middle of April 2021.

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