Today the South African Rugby Union announced that club and school rugby may return to the playing field. The governing body granted permission for the players to return to the field in April, provided that all health and return to play protocols are in place. This is a huge boost to the amateur game in South Africa following a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic.
Club’s may return to the field on the 12th of April , with schools resuming on the 23rd as the Department of Basic Education gave the go ahead for matches and national tournaments to resume, without spectators.
SA Rugby’s return to play policy provides that players must have undergone a four week no-contact training program followed by a four week contact return to play program in order to ensure player safety. Clubs had already begun their contact training, hence the delay in school rugby’s return as a result of Government only giving the go ahead today.
“We were delighted to receive the news that schools rugby can recommence as announced by the Department of Basic Education, and we share in the schools and club players’ excitement to return to the field.” Said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux.
The return to play protocols, were put in place after consultations with players and medical professionals at national level. These were enforced on the provincial sides last year following the various levels of hard lockdown in order to ensure players bodies were properly prepared for the high physical demands of the sport. It is only right that the amateur players are to undergo the same protocols, in light of their long absence from the field.
Student in their final year of school (matric) will be truly pleased to learn that they will get their matric rugby season, something many of them will have been building towards their entire school careers. SA Schools rugby has always been a vibrant affair and we can’t wait to see all the schools battling it out again.
Also of note is that this weekend will see the kick off of the 2021 Varsity Cup, albeit in a bio bubble, with no crowds. Fans will be able to catch their teams live on Supersport from Sunday as the CUT Ixias and UJ kick the tournament off, followed by the clash between UP Tuks and Wits later in the day.