It seems a bit surreal to be writing to you ahead of community rugby re-commencing after everything that has transpired since early-March.
There’s been many challenges, frustrations and days where we thought the 2020 season would not eventuate due to COVID-19. However, those testing times have been met with a collective resolve across our game that sees us kicking off this weekend.
It’s certainly not the season that we expected it to be and the ‘new norm’ – whilst still evolving – is something we’ll all need to get accustomed to, but the ability to come together and share our love for the game of rugby is heartening in these difficult times.
We’re a game for boys and girls of all shapes, sizes, abilities and ages and given the challenges we face across our community at present, the positive impacts our game can have will be no more evident when competition kick start across New South Wales.
That positive impact needs to be coupled with a cautious, considered approach to biosecurity at training, games and in our day-to-day lives.
I’d like to thank everyone for their efforts so far, your commitment to bio-security within our ‘Return to Play’ guidelines has been fantastic – however, the job is far from done.
We all have a role to play in remaining COVID safe and from what we’ve seen around Australia and the world, there is no room for complacency on this front. It’s vital we work together to keep operating during these times, social distancing is critical and everyone can help.
Be sure to follow the bio-security protocols in place when attending games and if you don’t feel well please stay home and ensure you get tested.
Overall, given the current clusters we’re seeing across Sydney the NSW Government is advising clubs to ‘take all reasonable steps to minimise the number of spectators attending community sport events’. This is no doubt a challenge given our eagerness to re-engage with community rugby, but something that needs to be considered to ensure the safety of players, fans and volunteers.
At NSW Rugby we’ll continue to support your efforts through ongoing education around bio-security, as well as webinars for coaches and officials on various elements of the game.
We’re still encouraging registrations – it’s never too late to sign up – and have a number of avenues to ease any financial burden that may be felt during this difficult time. The NSW Positive Rugby Foundation’s Junior Rugby Hardship Fund is offering a $100 subsidy per player to cover insurance and levy fees to enable juniors to return to the game.
The Active Kids Voucher is still also available to help subsidise children’s involvement in rugby.
On behalf of everyone at NSW Rugby, I’d like to wish you the very best ahead of the weekend – we’re so pleased to see rugby back on playing fields across the state.
Some things to keep in mind before the weekend:
- If your activity has more than 20 participants (including people taking part, spectators and official), your organisation must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Limit entry to indoor facilities and fenced venues to one person per participant at junior sport (where practical);
- Provide communication to participant databases via e-newsletters, social media and organisations’ websites strongly suggesting that only parents and carers should attend community sports activities where possible;
- Physical distancing of 1.5m is to be maintained at all times when not taking part in training and matches. This may include the need to:
- Space out seating on substitutes benches where practical
- Practice physical distancing during team huddles before, during and after matches
- Ensure there is physical distancing for team photos.
- Remind spectators not from the same household to practice physical distancing; and
- Ensure queues for common areas such as canteens and change rooms allow for physical distancing.
- Ensure you have record keeping protocols in place – where possible have these in a digital format that can be easily provided if required.
Stay safe and good luck,
CEO NSW Rugby