Rugby Canada unveils return to play road map but provinces will have final say - InfoNews

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Rugby Canada unveils return to play road map but provinces will have final say

Rugby Canada has lifted its country-wide suspension of sanctioned rugby activities, but says there is more to do before the game resumes. Canada's Pat Kay, from left to right, Nathan Hirayama, Theo Sauder and Harry Jones, back, celebrate Sauder's try against Spain during a quarterfinal match at the Canada Sevens rugby tournament in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, March 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
June 19, 2020 - 2:09 PM

Rugby Canada has lifted its country-wide suspension of sanctioned rugby activities, but says there is more to do before the game resumes.

Ultimately what can be done on a rugby field and when will be determined by provincial governments and health authorities. What Rugby Canada has done is provide its provincial rugby unions the framework — via "Return to Play" requirements — by which to prepare for the game resuming in some fashion.

The provincial rugby unions now have to incorporate the requirements into their planning and apply to their local health authorities for approval for the sport to return "in an appropriate and safe way."

It's likely that will happen in staggered fashion, depending on the COVID-19 presence in the jurisdiction. Atlantic Canada has a head start in that regard.

The game may also return in different forms, working its way back to the way it was before.

Rugby Canada and its provincial unions formed a working group, chaired by B.C. Rugby CEO Annabel Kehoe, in May to develop the return to play strategy as various jurisdictions began to loosen some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Member clubs will have to follow the Rugby Canada guidelines from designating COVID-19 "safety co-ordinators," completing World Rugby COVID-related courses, completing a COVID safety plan and registering all participants among other steps.

Meanwhile, some national team athletes returned to training this week in Langford, B.C., with the approval of local health authorities. Rugby Canada says the voluntary training involves strength and conditioning work at the Al Charron National Training Centre.

Groups are limited to 12 or less, with men and women training on alternate days. It's the first step of what Rugby Canada hopes will be a return to increased training.

While most Rugby Canada staff continue to work remotely, the organization has closed its Centre of Excellence which it leased from the city of Langford in order to consolidate operations in the nearby Al Charron Centre.

Rugby Canada closed its Toronto office in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2020.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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