RETURN TO PLAY: PLAYERS

As Saskatchewan eases restrictions and works towards a “new normal” for sport, Provincial Unions, Sub-Unions, Member Clubs, and all members have responsibilities in the return to play.

This page is designed as a resource for players, parents, and supporters starting to return to play. The sections below break down what you can expect:

  • before (Preparing to Return),
  • at the start of (Managing Return),
  • and throughout your return (Staying Safe)

Additional information on the Saskatchewan Rugby Return to Play Plan and resources relating to COVID-19 can be found here

The full Saskatchewan Rugby Return to Play plan can be found here

What’s been going on with Return to Play?

Sask Rugby and Rugby Canada have developed a plan to gradually return to organised rugby in Saskatchewan.

Rugby clubs must follow all steps of the sanctioning guidelines with an approved plan before returning to programming; member health & safety is our top priority in returning to sport.

The return to rugby will take place carefully and gradually in steps that align with all sport, rugby, and local health regulations and recommendations.

What changes can I expect in Return to Play?

All shared equipment will be provided and cleaned by your club, so leave your rugby balls at home (though we recommend giving all your personal equipment a good scrub).

All sessions will operate under a “Get In, Train, Get Out” policy: participants must arrive dressed to change, avoid bringing large bags onto the fields, and avoid congregating at the fields. It sounds harsh, but we want to ensure all facilities are safe for all players, coaches, and other users.

Physical distancing (2m) will be maintained as possible throughout practice – no high fives, hugs, or huddles; think of creative ways to feel close without getting close.

Anyone attending in-person activities must confirm their attendance and complete a COVID-19 attestation and agreement online prior to each session.

What will rugby look like this season?

Players will be divided into smaller training groups, or separate training sessions altogether, depending on group sizes and any restrictions in place.

Clubs can choose to deliver non-contact or contact programs, depending on their plans and capacity.

As more clubs return there is a possibility for mini-leagues (competitions between local teams) but no travel outside your city or province for rugby.

Rugby training will look different but there is still the opportunity to learn and grow as players, check out the Staying Safe section for ideas on individual training and conditioning during return.

What do I need to know before my first practice?

Make sure you are registered with your club, confirmed your attendance on Sportlomo, and completed the online waiver (COVID-19 attestation & agreement).

Familiarize yourself with Return to Play rules and guidelines, your club will share their specific plan with you before any training.

To keep everyone safe, follow the Provincial health orders and be upfront and honest about having any symptoms of COVID-19.

Arrive ready to train, there will be no access to changerooms other than to use the washroom.

Fill up your water bottle at home, sharing of water battles is not permitted and access to fountains and faucets at the facility may be limited.

Wash your hands immediately before and after training.

If you are feeling ill please DO NOT ATTEND TRAINING.

Still have questions?

Check out the rest of this page or contact your Club Safety Coordinator

Preparing to Return as a Player

Returning to rugby is optional. Each individual is responsible for determining if attending in-person rugby activities is safe for them and their household. Individuals should also consider risk to their workplace, especially those working in the health care field or as essential workers. Factors may change over time and you should regularly re-assess your risk and the risk to your household and workplace.

When making the decision to return, consider the following aspects of COVID-19:
  • Research indicates that children and adolescents are just as likely to become infected as any other age group and can spread the disease (Source: WHO)
  • COVID-19 causes a respiratory-type infection that is mild in most of the population (approximately 80%) but can be more severe in those who are older adults or those with chronic underlying conditions
  • The known underlying health conditions that put one at greater risk for COVID-19 include diabetes, hypertension, asthma, chronic lung disease, severe heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, obesity, or a weakened immune system
  • Individuals with disabilities interacting with multiple care providers/supports and friends have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to increased exposure

It is highly recommended that all players and/or parents of players returning to rugby complete the World Rugby COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Coaches & Players Course.

World Rugby COVID-19 Courses

Other World Rugby online courses recommended for age-grade and adult players include:

Additional education and updates can be found on the Sask Rugby COVID-19 Resources page under Return to Play.

Prior to your FIRST session, complete a pre-integration assessment using an online self-assessment tool as instructed by your Club. This will ask you some questions about your current health including possible COVID-19 symptoms, this will familiarize you with the attestations you will complete prior to each session and ensure you are healthy and able to participate in rugby.

If you receive any results indicating you should NOT return, follow all professional medical advice until you are cleared.

Below are some Sask Rugby recommended options.

Health Canada Self-Assessment
EHealth Sask Self-Assessment

Once you're ready to return, register for the appropriate category online.

Clubs can choose to run contact or non-contact training as well as mini-leagues, but if you are registered for a non-contact membership you CANNOT participate in ANY contact activities. You may upgrade your membership to a contact membership at any point if your club is sanctioned for those activities.

New members register here: https://rugbycanada.sportlomo.com/

Returning members log-in and register here: https://sportsmanager.ie/sportlomo/users/login

Managing Return as a Player

Before you step on the pitch for the first time, make sure you have:
  • Registered online as a player
  • Completed an online self-assessment
  • Educated yourself on COVID-19 risks and restrictions
  • Learned about all relevant club or facility guidelines
  • Confirmed your attendance online
  • Completed your first COVID-19 attestation & agreement online

Player Guide to Attestations and Attendance Tracking

Before each practice after that, ensure you:
  • Confirm your attendance online
  • Complete a daily COVID-19 attestation & agreement online
  • Fill up your water bottle and place any other essential items (inhaler, glasses case) in a small, sealed bag
  • Leave your equipment at home, clubs will provide and clean all shared equipment
  • Show up at the field ready to train

Player Guide to Attestations and Attendance Tracking

At practice, be aware of the following changes:
  • Any pre-training huddles or debriefing must take place outside the facility
  • There will be sanitation stations at facility entrances and exits to use when coming and going
  • There will be no access to change rooms except to use the bathroom and potentially limited access to fountains or faucets
  • Physical distance (2m) will be maintained at breaks and when possible during practice
  • Once training is over you must leave the facility, avoid socializing on the field or in the parking lot

Staying Safe: Returning Players

If you begin experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms of COVID-19 and have attended in-person rugby activities within the last 14 days, you must:
  • Immediately notify your Club’s COVID-19 Safety Coordinator or Sask Rugby’s COVID-19 Manager
  • Follow all medical and government instruction on managing your symptoms
  • Sask Rugby will notify all individuals recorded as attending the same in-person activities within the last 14 days with instructions to self-monitor. Your details will be kept confidential and your privacy respected
  • DO NOT attend any in-person rugby activities until you have been medically cleared and submit your clearance in writing to the Sask Rugby COVID-19 Manager
If you test positive for COVID-19 and have attended in-person rugby activities within the last 14 days, you must:
  • Immediately notify your Club’s COVID-19 Safety Coordinator or Sask Rugby’s COVID-19 Manager
  • Follow all medical and government instruction on managing your diagnosis
  • All in-person rugby activities and facilities attended by someone testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 4 weeks must be suspended for a minimum of 2 weeks
  • Sask Rugby will notify all individuals recorded as attending the same in-person activities within the last 14 days with instructions to self-isolate. Your details will be kept confidential and your privacy respected
  • Sask Rugby will notify all relevant health authorities
  • Rugby Canada will assemble an Emergency Management Team, in line with our COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan (Section 6 of the Sask Rugby Return to Play Plan)
  • DO NOT attend any in-person rugby activities until you have been medically cleared and submit your clearance in writing to the Sask Rugby COVID-19 Manager
If you begin to feel unwell at the facility, follow these steps:
  • Immediately notify your coach, Club COVID-19 Safety Coordinator or Sask Rugby’s COVID-19 Manager
  • If you cannot leave the facility safely, self-isolate in the designated facility isolation space and await transportation
  • Call Healthline 811 and follow all medical and government instruction on managing your symptoms
  • Follow up with your Club COVID-19 Safety Coordinator or Sask Rugby’s COVID-19 Manager once you are feeling better
  • DO NOT attend any in-person rugby activities until you have been medically cleared and submit your clearance in writing to the Sask Rugby COVID-19 Manager
In the event of one or more rugby participant testing positive for COVID-19, relevant clubs, Sask Rugby and Rugby Canada will go through the following steps to respond to the incident(s) and maintain the safety of the community.
  1. Rugby Canada will assemble an Emergency Management Team (EMT) consisting of Rugby Canada, Sask Rugby, and club representatives to coordinate a diligent response
  2. The EMT will classify the emergency as an Issue (1 case), Incident (2 or more connected participants), or Crisis (continued outbreak), and respond accordingly.
  3. The EMT will designate a Spokesperson from Rugby Canada to handle all questions and media inquiries. Do NOT respond to media or public questions until the EMT is consulted, the first message can make the difference in managing a situation effectively.

Player Resources

Mental Health

Coping with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the pandemic is a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. Anyone with concerns or wanting support for their mental health and wellness during these times is encouraged to access the following resources:

Gradual Return to Training

Detraining/de-conditioning will occur after even short periods of inactivity or reduced activity and increasing training intensity and/or volume too quickly can increase risk of injuries. To avoid injury, when returning to training start slow and rebuild your foundational base of strength and power. Returning to training should be a gradual process that will take place over a period of several weeks and months.

Learn more about safe progression to training here: How much is too much? International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury

Activate Injury Prevention Exercise Program

The World Rugby Activate program highlights fundamental movements to improve athleticism, skills, performance and injury prevention in a rugby specific setting. Coming off a long break from training, the Activate program is recommended for players and coaches to avoid unnecessary injury.

The program is designed with resources for athletes aged 13 to 18 and over, modified for use across community-level rugby settings.

Access the Activate program here

Individual Training

Even if you are uncomfortable returning to sport you are a valued player and community member, and this can be an opportunity to grow and develop other elements of the game.

There are lots of resources for individual rugby-specific training, including drills and conditioning, available online.

Rugby IQ: http://www.rugbyiq.com/videos/size/individual/

England Rugby, Get Fit for Rugby: https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/playing/virginactive