It’s been over five months since we last took the pitch due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For months there was no rugby anywhere; more recently we’ve had rugby available to watch on TV thanks to Super Rugby Aotearoa and AU. As we enter a new school year, a new season, and a new CIPP cycle – many many questions start to arise about life in general. And one that has been asked since the beginning of this pandemic started – “What’s up with rugby [in the TRU]?”
“When are we going to get back to playing?”
- Short answer = we don’t know. TRU is following the Return to Play Guidelines that were set down by USA Rugby in early June. These guidelines instruct Geographical Unions to follow local government guidance. Local guidance hasn’t changed since June/July – groups under 10, no shared equipment, social distancing enforced. The government hasn’t put out a timeline of when they will raise restrictions, and even when they tried, they couldn’t follow that due to the infection numbers.
“What about other sports? I see them happening everywhere I go.”
- Two things may be happening here. One – rugby involves a LOT more contact and players than most other sports. We will likely be one of the last to return to play. Two – we are following the state guidance, which is incorporated into the USA Rugby RTP Guidelines. We can’t speak to what other amateur sports governing bodies are telling them to do, or whether they are following those rules.
“Well if College Football comes back, we can definitely play then right?”
- Not likely. College Football (and professional sports) require a high level of testing, tracing, and quarantining that isn’t readily available or realistic for Club rugby. Even if professional or international rugby returns in the fall, don’t expect Club to follow in a hurry.
“Will we be playing in the fall?”
- On the last Red River Competitions Committee Conference Call, the RRRC Board voted to schedule a series of regional, social tournaments in the fall (government restrictions permitting), and start all competitive play in the spring. So right now we are planning for a full cup season to start in 2021, with the option to play in local tournaments as allowed for Fall 2020. We will be playing as soon as the government restrictions allow us to play.
“So when do we have to register our players and clubs?
- Two parts to this: 1. USA Rugby and USA Club Rugby haven’t decided on the exact structure of dues/insurance (as of this article being written). So you can’t register because you don’t know how much to pay. 2. USA Rugby has introduced a “COVID-level” registration at a reduced rate that can be upgraded as soon as full contact rugby returns. Once the registration systems are activated and ready for registration, we would suggest you pay the reduced rate so you can continue distanced training with your local club until restrictions are lifted. Then you can upgrade to full membership.
“So…. what’s up with rugby [in the TRU]?
- We’re monitoring the situation, waiting for the government guidance to allow us to return to full play. We’re organizing practices as allowed under the current stage. We’re promoting off-pitch learnings available through the TRU (check the Facebook page for more details!). We’re doing what rugby players do in tough situations; leaning on our teammates for support and keep moving forward. Rugby will return. We don’t know when, but it will return. And when it does, we’ll be ready.