March 25, 2021

Return to schoolboy rugby 2021.

The SA Schools Rugby Association has released a short statement on the time frame of the return to schoolboy rugby. A release of the long-awaited Government Gazette is hopefully expected to happen on Friday.

Return to rugby 2021 (SASRA statement)

It is a sense of frustration that permission has not yet been granted for a return to contact training and playing. The publication of the DBE Government Gazette potentially giving us permission to start physical contact training has been delayed for reasons unknown to us. It is hoped that the Gazette will be released later this week. The country moved to Alert level 1 on the 28 February 2021.

Rugby has demonstrated a very professional approach during these trying Covid-19 times. The safety of our players has been our priority and will remain so. I appeal to all our schools to continue with that approach until we are given permission for contact training. We are working behind the scenes to get a copy of the publication for planning purposes.

All provincial associations and their member schools are reminded of the process that must be followed when permission are given for contact training and matches, eventually.

The guidelines given below are to ensure a safe return to play. They are directives from SARU. Please ensure strict compliance.
- 12 February 2021 permission was granted return to non-contact training. Must have completed at least 4 weeks of non-contact training before a return to contact training.
- We are currently in week 6, so as soon as permission is granted by the DBE, physical contact training can begin immediately (provided a minimum 4 weeks of non-contact training has been completed).
- Return to contact training for 4 weeks once permission is granted.
- Return to play can commence 4 weeks after physical contact training is completed.
- Rugby trials are considered as contact play.
- Tag and Touch rugby at school still meets the low threshold of physical contact as stipulated by the DBE and so can only officially resume at school once the DBE gives the go ahead for physical contact to take place.

Just for clarity in this dynamic situation we find ourselves in the following decisions have been taken:
- The U16 Grant Khomo and U 18 Craven Week, National Youth Week tournaments as well as the annual U18 International Series featuring the SA Schools are still part of the planning for the 2021 calendar.
- The U13 Craven Week, U18 Academy Week, U18 LSEN and the Girls Weeks have been cancelled for 2021. This decision was a very difficult one to make. Covid-19 will still be with us for some time, and we wanted to concentrate all our resources on those two tournaments to ensure their success.

Photo Credit: Martin Ashworth
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