It’s a simple message from NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp as the NSW Waratahs return to training for the first time in almost two months.
“The biggest thing we’ve learnt out of our education this week is that every person has a responsibility to firstly look after themselves and then keep each other accountable to maintain a safe working environment and keep ourselves and the community healthy,” Rapp said.
The ‘new norm’ at Daceyville features a myriad of biosecurity measures including temperature checks on arrival, strict entrance times, strapping and physio treatment outside and areas of the facility blocked off.
“It’s a really monumental step for us to have the boys back at training. It really is the new normal for us with the processes we have to put in place for the guys to enter the facility and train in small groups,” he said.
“We’ve got nine players out on the field at any one time with a coach, before they move into the gym to work on their physical conditioning.”
Rapp commended the players for their work while in isolation, but acknowledged the role a team environment creates in aiding performance.
“The boys have had heaps of work to do [in isolation] and they’ve been extremely vigilant around that, but getting back into a workspace where you can have a bit of banter and compete against your teammates is really beneficial.”
The ‘monumental step’ is the first on the road to a return to a domestic competition as Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby franchises develop plans to get the game underway in the coming months.
“We’re excited to put rugby back on the grass and hopefully on TV with the work underway for a domestic competition,” Rapp added.
It’s now a week-to-week proposition for players and team management with the current restrictions, but Rapp acknowledged the need to align with government restrictions and follow the guidelines set across the competition.
“Professional sport is no different to the rest of society and the changes we’re all going though at the moment. To work hand-in-hand with Rugby Australia and the other Super Rugby franchises has been great and we have a responsibility to follow these guidelines to ensure we can progress to the point of playing in a domestic competition.