Individual and small group training

Current data suggests that reduction in PST measures will occur in a staggered manner according to a country’s healthcare system and testing capacity. Early relaxation measures are likely to focus on non-essential business and schools re-opening. These changes could allow limited groups to meet (eg <10). Because of the heightened risk of infection, all remaining PST measures should be strictly adhered to. Conditioning, skill work and some elements of non-contact set-piece practice could be safely undertaken in a small group, non-contact setting.

All players and staff should continue to carefully observe the ’10 rules of engagement’ outlined above. Application of these measures means that on returning to the Club facility, all players and staff will need to significantly change their daily routine and work practice. Daily screening, hygiene and social distancing measures should continue to be observed (an example of an online symptoms screening questionnaire is shown in appendix 1). The PST measures at any point in time will impact behaviour in the team environment in several ways.

  • When physically active the risk of interpersonal transmission may be higher, and it is recommended that the distance be increased to at least 1.5 meters between individuals should be observed to significantly reduce the probability of virus transmission.
  • Personal greetings and physical acknowledgement (handshake or hugging) have always been an integral part of the community which is a rugby team. These types of measures however are not consistent with the social distancing required and must be actively avoided.
  • Where possible, all players and staff should wear face masks to prevent possible spread from asymptomatic, infected players. Where this is not achievable training should be undertaken outdoors to limit possible aerosol and droplet transmission. Advise on cloth mask preparation may be found here.(4) When training must be undertaken indoors (e.g. during weight training), social distancing measures should be employed.
  • Squads should be divided into groups permitted by local and government health departments (e.g. <10). Training should be planned in a staggered manner to avoid overlap of groups.
  • Where possible each group should be assigned a specified coach, who would only supervise that group and not come into physical contact with the rest of the squad. This would limit staff close contact with players reducing the potential impact of a positive case on staff availability.
  • Players should avoid showering and eating at their training venues, and travel alone to and from training, unless they are already living in the same household.
  • Meetings with coaching staff should be completed digitally, outdoors or if indoors in spaces which will allow one person per 4 m2, where possible all players and staff should wear face masks.
  • Equipment sharing should be avoided where possible, when it is required (such as in the gymnasium) equipment should be sanitised between groups.
  • Personal equipment such as water bottles should be clearly marked and not shared.
  • Do not use communal nutritional supplements