BC Rugby is pleased to announce the release of their ‘Return to Rugby’ Plan that will enable the gradual return to play. The plan was developed in accordance with viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines and Rugby Canada’s Return to Play document that was approved by the Rugby Canada Board of Directors on June 19. BC Rugby’s plan has been approved by its own Board of Directors as well as Rugby Canada allowing BC Rugby to begin sanctioning clubs to return to rugby. BC Rugby Events and Team Services Manager Brynna Walker has been appointed by BC Rugby as its COVID-19 Safety Manager.
“Rugby is coming back but it’s up to all of us to make sure it’s brought back in a safe and responsible manner,” said BC Rugby CEO, Annabel Kehoe. “I want to thank all the players, coaches and club leaders for their adherence to public health orders and their patience as we’ve worked through this multi-layered issue. While we won’t be returning to full-contact rugby for the foreseeable future, we’re excited to support Clubs delivering modified training before progressing to non-contact rugby, like touch and flag rugby.”
The Return to Rugby in BC plan is divided into five phases, aligned to viaSport’s Guidelines,
With the release of this plan, BC Rugby is entering its second phase of Return to Rugby, known as Rugby Re-Engaged. This phase will not include any inter-club or contact activities and is limited to activities that maintain physical distancing at all times, with rugby balls as the only permitted shared equipment. The next phase, anticipated to begin in September, will see some small-sided, non-contact games (i.e. touch or flag rugby) within clubs and additional shared equipment. Inter-regional travel will only be permitted in the fourth phase, when low-contact small-sided games can be played between clubs, as sanctioned and managed by BC Rugby.
For Clubs looking to resume rugby activities, this plan outlines the steps that they will need to take to apply for sanctioning, including creating a COVID Safety Plan and updating their Emergency Action Plans. The complete Return to Rugby in BC document includes in-depth information on these processes, as well as mandatory requirements for in-person sessions, recommended health and safety precautions, and all other information required to become sanctioned for rugby activity and to begin delivering sessions. This document can be viewed here.
Key steps for Clubs will be to complete the World Rugby COVID-19 Courses and appoint one or more COVID-19 Safety Coordinators. While mandatory for all Club Presidents and the appointed Safety Coordinators, the World Rugby COVID-19 Courses are designed to help everyone in the rugby community during the COVID-19 pandemic and to guide a safe return to rugby activities and are highly recommended for any decision-makers and anyone preparing to support the return to rugby.
For players wanting to get back on the field, this plan also speaks to them and provides guidance on how to assess their own risk in returning to sporting activities, as well as the steps players will need to take to share the collective responsibility in reducing the risk of community transmission. Until further notice, participants in any in-person rugby session must complete an attestation that they do not have COVID-19 and have not been in contact with a confirmed or possible case within the prior 14 days.
“While the return of rugby is an exciting prospect, the health of all communities is our highest priority,” said Kehoe. “I encourage all rugby participants, supporters and fans to be mindful of everyone’s health and safety as we navigate our return to the sport we all love.”
To support the Return to Rugby, BC Rugby has created a Return to Rugby Hub with specific information pertaining to players, coaches, referees and club administrators. The page can be viewed here, and will be updated with more information and resources as they become available.