Rugby Australia Coronavirus | COVID-19 ongoing updates:

by Rugby Australia

See below Rugby Australia's ongoing updates on COVID-19 and the wider effects on the Rugby Community:

Information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Community and Club Rugby

For guidelines on what to do if there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 at your Rugby Club or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus see the link below.

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Grant Information for Clubs

The Federal Government and State and Territory Governments have announced a range of measures to support organisations financially due to the impact of COVID-19. To find out what your club could be eligible for and see what other funding programs are available across the country, see the link below. 

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Rugby In Australia Preparing Communities for Return to Rugby

1 May

Update from James Selby, General Manager - Community Rugby

Dear Rugby Community

I hope that this note finds you and your family well. It has been a tumultuous time for our country and the disruption, stress, and challenges have been indiscriminate in hitting all parts of our lives, including sport.

In my video message prior to Easter, I mentioned that we, like you, are eager to get back to our Rugby clubs, back on the field and back with our mates. We know the huge role that Rugby plays in our communities and we know that getting it started again soon, will help strengthen and connect those communities as well as supporting our mental and physical health.

Nearly seven weeks ago, the National Development Panel made the decision to postpone all Community Rugby activities. Since then, Rugby Australia along with our State and Territory Member Unions have been working hard to prepare for a restart to the Rugby season.

We have all been working closely with the Australian, State and Territory Governments to ensure that once appropriate, Rugby can recommence around Australia in a way that is safe for participants, their families and the broader community. In some great news, we are starting to see restrictions eased around Australia with some light at the end of the tunnel to get back to Rugby in 2020. The Northern Territory are looking like they will be the lucky first ones to return to play, whilst other Member Unions and Associations are providing local updates around proposed dates that they hope to be back on the field.

In the coming week, Rugby Australia will be releasing Return to Play checklists for coaches, match officials, competition administrators, clubs and facilities. These are designed to support the keeping the game safe, reduce the risk of further coronavirus outbreaks and ensure our players are fit and ready to take the field. There will also be guidance on how best to restructure competition formats so that Clubs and Associations can still offer participants a great 2020 Rugby experience.

In addition to this, Rugby Australia has already provided a Rugby club financial health check tool; details of government grants for Clubs and Associations to identify financial support; new approaches to the delivery of education for Coaches and Match Officials and a series of weekly At Home Rugby Workouts.

Prior to the shutdown, we experienced a sharp rise in player registrations against the same time last year. This was fantastic to see and is a huge credit to the Unions, Associations and the army of volunteers at our clubs for delivering great Rugby experiences year in and year out. Rugby Australia and our Member Unions are very driven to support this great work when rugby returns to our communities.

To support with community Rugby returning, Rugby Australia strongly encourages you and your family to download the Australian Government’s COVID Safe App. This is a key tool to protect our communities and will help Governments to ease the current restrictions around community sport.

We will continue to work hard for you and do all we can to ensure Rugby is back as soon as practically possible over the coming weeks and months.

You can expect to hear specific updates from your State or Territory Member Union, Association and club, as they have local information about when and how training can recommence and when games are likely to start. Until then, please continue to follow the guidance of Government and Health Authorities, get yourself into some of the great online Rugby education packages and try out some of the At Home Rugby Workouts.

Kind regards

James

Community Rugby COVID-19 Update

24 April

Rugby Australia and the State and Territory Member Unions met again this week. It was a collaborative and positive meeting with all involved reflecting on the amazing work by Rugby clubs and local Rugby communities to stay connected during this time.

The group was encouraged by the positive signs from the official data and advice about COVID-19.  Whilst there is currently a national position about Rugby not recommencing until 1 June, it was recognised by everyone, that States and Territories are now likely to remove restrictions based on how COVID-19 cases are declining in their jurisdiction. As a result, this means that Rugby is likely to start up again at different times, dependent on where you live.

Therefore, as well as reading the Rugby Australia updates, we would encourage you to stay connected to your Member Union, as they will have specific updates relevant to your State or Territory.  

Please be assured that the priority of Rugby Australia and our Member Unions is to ensure that Rugby activities can recommence in a way that protects the safety and welfare of individuals and our broader community.

At Home Workouts

We have all been enjoying the great videos that the Rugby community has been posting to social media, these show the true love that you all have for our great game and the lengths you will go to for your weekly Rugby fix! In the last couple of weeks, we have also been released a series of home workouts to give you some more rugby specific workouts to start getting you ready for the delayed season to recommence. You can find these across the Rugby Australia social channels.

Rugby Education Opportunities

There is also a schedule of education opportunities that are rolling out for Coaches and Match Officials. The current two-week schedule will be promoted on Rugby AU and Member Union social platforms which will also contain information around registration.

Return to Play

As the safety and welfare of the Rugby community is our first priority, we are also working to develop a series of return to play recommendations and checklists to help our players be physically prepared to return to contact rugby. We know that Clubs, Coaches and Associations have this at the front of their minds already and what we develop will complement the work that may already be underway. SMART Rugby will be an important aspect of this, and we encourage you to spread the word to ensure everyone who needs to, has their SMART Rugby up-to-date.  

We will also be publishing a guideline for competition organisers to consider how best to restructure competitions. It is appreciated that there are many competition formats played across the country and different law and competition variations as a result and the document will not provide the specific solutions for each competition, rather, general guidance that should help decide the specific changes required.

We also appreciate that this is also challenging times for the thousands of Club and Association administrators and volunteers who really keep the community game running, so a series of tools and resources have been developed to support them. The Member Unions are in the process of distributing these throughout their networks.   

Final Note 

We are all eager to get Rugby going again and supporting you to have a safe and enjoyable season, even if slightly different to how we all thought it would occur. Rugby Australia and our Member Unions will continue to keep you informed as things progress. Once again, we want to thank you for your understanding and patience through this time and encourage you to continue to follow Government and health advice to keep you and your family safe.

Community Rugby COVID-19 Update

3 April

A collective decision, between Rugby Australia and the State and Territory Member Unions, has been made to further postpone Community Rugby to a date not before 1 June 2020. This includes all Rugby activity including matches, training and face-to-face education courses.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the length of time Government restrictions will be in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, we are not in a position to provide a specific return date. The National Development Panel will continue to review this position on a weekly basis and update the Rugby Community if the position changes. We will continue to follow the guidance and updates from Government and Health Authorities as they are received.

During this postponement we will be working with stakeholders across the Community Rugby to plan for a range of recommencement dates to ensure that as soon as Government restrictions are lifted, the Community is ready to mobilise and deliver great rugby experiences in 2020. In the interest of the safety and welfare of all participants, preparation and training time will be factored in ahead of rugby competitions recommencing.

Community Rugby and its people are the lifeblood of our great game and our decisions will always be made with the interests of participants, families and the broader community as the priority.

Once again, we want to thank you for your understanding and patience through this time and encourage you to continue to follow Government and health advice to keep you and your family safe.

Community Rugby COVID-19 Update

27 March

On behalf of Rugby Australia and the Member Unions, we’d like to thank our Rugby Community for your continued efforts and patience as we continue to adapt to this rapidly evolving situation.

Safety and welfare

Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our Rugby Community which includes players, coaches, referees, volunteers and staff.To support this, Rugby Australia has produced guidelines around what to do if there are suspected cases within your Rugby Community and how best to communicate this.

The document can be accessed here.

Just a reminder that following the decision by Rugby Australia and the Member Unions to postpone all Rugby activities until May alongside the restrictions introduced by the Federal Government on March 23, all gym facilities within Rugby Clubs must remain closed indefinitely.

Further information on public gatherings can be found here.

Coaches

Rugby Australia wants to ensure Community Coaches feel prepared and confident once the Rugby season returns.

Over the coming weeks all accredited Coaches will be invited to join an online forum to keep up to date with all things coaching and access useful resources.

In addition to this, a quick reminder that Smart Rugby accreditation expires on April 1. We would also encourage anyone who’s interested in coaching to complete the free online course. Please click here for further details.

Referees

The Game Management Guidelines are now available in three mediums (video, PDFs and PowerPoints) via the Rugby Australia website here.Rugby Australia will regularly share educational videos on ‘Refereeing Best Practice’. The first video around ‘Half Time Game Plan’ can be viewed here.

Furthermore, we are now using the application Zoom to run online referee conferences. The course schedule will be finalised within the next week. In the meantime, the Zoom app can be downloaded for free here.

Club Admins

A reminder to make sure you have completed the latest Rugby Xplorer administration courses. You will receive your accreditation via the Learning Centre once completed.

Furthermore, Rugby Xplorer version 3.2 is now available for download and the latest updates can be read here.

Final Note

Whilst the Rugby Community may not be able to connect in person at the moment, we encourage you to remain connected to the game through our social media channels where we are sharing daily content to keep you informed and entertained.

Rugby Australia statement on Australian Sevens program

23 March

Following on from the announcement that the Australian Olympic Committee has advised its athletes to prepare for the Olympic Games to be held in the European summer of 2021 the Qantas Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams will stand down and commence their four weeks annual leave from tomorrow.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “Whilst this is disappointing for both of our Australian Sevens teams, Rugby Australia supports the announcement by the Australian Olympic Committee to provide clarity for athletes preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We have been in discussion with all players and staff from both programs and with the remainder of the current HSBC Sevens World Series season suspended until later in the year, we will move our players' annual leave forward to commence from tomorrow.

“As you would expect there are a number of disappointed athletes and staff across both programs, but this decision is in the best interests of the individual athletes and the wider community’s health.

"Rugby Australia will work with both teams to ensure they can be in the best possible position to live their Olympic dream in 2021."

Proposed Australian Super Rugby domestic competition on hold

23 March

Rugby Australia has today confirmed plans to proceed with a domestic competition as part of SANZAAR’s solution for the remainder of the Super Rugby season have been placed on hold.

The remodelled competition, which was in the final stages of approvals, had a planned start date of April 3 but has been suspended until at least May 1 after the Australian Government and various State and Territory Governments introduced further measures to fight the spread of Coronavirus.

All Australian Super Rugby teams have ceased training for an initial two-week period, following which players will begin modified training programs while the competition comes under further review in mid-April.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said the game’s stakeholders were united behind the suspension of the competition.

“Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams have made the decision today to suspend the start of the revised competition on the latest guidance from the various Government and Health authorities and our Chief Medical Officer.

“Our priority is the health and welfare of our athletes and our wider Rugby community as we continue to adapt to an unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation for our game and society.

“The decision to postpone the restart of the competition until May 1 is in line with the suspension of all community Rugby in Australia and will give us the opportunity to review our position across the whole Rugby landscape in a month’s time.

“Our message to the entire Rugby community today is to follow the advice of the Government and health authorities. We must do whatever it takes to stop the spread of the virus. The spirit of the Rugby community is a powerful force, and the only way out of this crisis is to work together and look out for each other.

“While this is having an unprecedented impact on our sport and many other sports, this is bigger than sport and that is why we will continue to put the health and welfare of our people above anything else.”

Photo: Getty Images

Rugby Australia, RUPA, and Super Rugby clubs support domestic competition model for remainder of Super Rugby season

20 March

The four Australian Super Rugby clubs, Rugby Australia, and RUPA have agreed to proceed towards the finalisation of a domestic competition model as part of SANZAAR’s solution for the remainder of the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby season.

The 18-round Vodafone Super Rugby season was suspended at the completion of Round 7 following travel restrictions imposed by the New Zealand and Australian Governments, and over the past week officials from across each of the five countries involved have held talks over the future of the 2020 competition.

The continuation of the competition in Australia will involve the four Australian teams playing within Australia only, in a round robin home-and-away format beginning on April 3. Discussions are continuing at SANZAAR level and with competition broadcasters on the specifics of the draw and Finals Series. All matches would be played in closed venues in line with current Australian Government restrictions on public gatherings.

Following the unfortunate withdrawal of Japan’s Sunwolves, who are part of the Australian Super Rugby conference, due to new travel restrictions imposed by the Australian Government on Thursday, Rugby Australia has approached the Western Force to join the four Australian Super Rugby teams to play in the new proposed domestic model.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “Rugby Australia, the four Australian Super Rugby teams and RUPA are united behind the continuation of Super Rugby in 2020 and have been intensively working towards a competition solution with our SANZAAR partners over the past six days. There are still some elements to work through as a group, but we are extremely confident that we will deliver a meaningful product for the remainder of the season for fans and broadcasters.

“We have agreed on the principles of proceeding down the path of a domestic solution in Australia which will see our teams compete against each other in a round robin format from April through June, followed by a yet to be determined Finals Series format.

“While our focus has been on developing a competition model that will enable us to meet our commitments to fans and broadcasters, careful attention has also been given to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the welfare of our players, support staff and match officials under the new proposed model. The Chief Medical Officers of each nation have been integral to these discussions, and together with the announcement of the new competition we will be announcing a range of measures and protocols to be introduced for the remainder of the season in the interest of protecting and safeguarding our athletes.

“In what has been a challenging time for everyone in our sport, we have seen the Rugby bodies in Australia come together to put their full weight behind finding a way for our game to continue in 2020 and on behalf of Rugby Australia I offer our sincere gratitude to SANZAAR and each of our Super Rugby teams, RUPA, Global Rapid Rugby and the Western Force, and FOX SPORTS.”

“We hope to provide a further update on the Super Rugby season with our SANZAAR partners in the coming days.”

Community Rugby COVID-19 Update

20 March

General

Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are committed to providing a regular Community Rugby update each Friday morning via our website to ensure everyone involved in the game is up to date with the latest rugby-related information.

As the situation is evolving, please know these updates might change however we will do our best to keep you informed and ensure our Rugby Community remains connected throughout these tough times.

The Rugby season remains postponed until the first week of May. This continues to include all Rugby games and training sessions across all age groups and formats as well as face-to-face coaching and match official courses.

Coaches

This week Rugby Australia had planned to launch National Coaching Week which involved hosting dozens of workshops across the country.

This campaign has been postponed until May and we will endeavour to keep you updated on the new dates, times and locations.

The good news is that we’ve still been able to launch around 350 educational videos for coaches across all age groups and formats which can be viewed here.The videos are free and a fantastic tool to help plan for the season ahead.

A reminder that Smart Rugby accreditation expires on April 1, 2020 so please ensure you’re up to date. The course takes just a short time to complete and the steps are outlined here.

Referees

An educational video on ‘Refereeing Best Practise’ will be shared each week on the Rugby Australia’s Referees page here. The first video will go live early next week.

Rugby Australia’s Referees webpage has been updated to provide a more user-friendly experience with all the relevant and up-to-date information.

A new platform called GoTo Training is being trialled to help connect referees and run meetings.

Further updates on this will be provided in the next week. Furthermore planned face-to-face courses will now be made available online over the coming weeks. More information around confirmed dates and times will be provided within the next week.

Photo: Stu Walmsley/RugbyAU Media

Safety and welfare

We have been receiving questions around what people should do if there are suspected cases of rugby participants, coaches, match officials, club administrators or volunteers. Our advice is to follow the directions of our Government and Health officials.

Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are also working on a ‘Return to Play’ checklist for clubs, associations, coaches and players. This means when the season recommences our participants are ready and conditioned to play, our coaches are well-equipped for training and clubs are providing a safe environment for their Rugby community to enjoy.

This document will be made available in the coming weeks.

Club Admins

All the latest information and updates on Rugby Xplorer can be found here.

Final Note

While these are challenging times, we know the spirit of the Rugby community is incredibly strong and we encourage you all to check in with each other and keep connected online. We will soon be sharing new content including ‘online challenges’ through the Rugby Australia Facebook page so make sure to keep an eye out!

 

Australian Sevens members return negative tests for COVID-19

18 March

Rugby Australia has confirmed that members of the Australian Sevens program who were tested for COVID-19 have each returned negative tests.

There are not currently any concerns for any other members of the program, and teams will return to training at Rugby Australia headquarters on Thursday.

Buildcorp Super W finals postponed, and Pathways programs suspended

17 March

The Buildcorp Super W play-off between the Queensland Reds and Brumbies Women at Ballymore this weekend has been postponed until the weekend of May 23/24 with all training for Super W to be suspended until May 2 effective immediately.

Additionally, all Academy, State representative teams and State Talent Development programs will be suspended effective immediately until 2 May 2020.

This means that programs and players will not have access to State Union training facilities or group training schedules.

The Super W final is re-scheduled for May 30/31 in Sydney.There will be a final re-assessment on the decision to continue the Finals made on Monday April 27 at the latest.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “Whilst this is a disappointing outcome, the safety and welfare of our players and staff is our number one priority, which is why we have made the decision to postpone the Finals of Buildcorp Super W and suspend our Academies and Pathways teams.

“I’d like to thank the State Unions, players and supporters for their understanding throughout this rapidly changing situation.”

An Update for the Rugby Community from Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle

16 March

Dear Rugby Community,

I’m writing to you to provide an update on Rugby Australia’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As you know this is a constantly evolving situation and we will continue to base all of our decisions on the latest advice from the relevant authorities and experts.

The health and safety of our players, staff, volunteers and the entire Rugby community continues to be our number one priority and while we all want to see the game back up and running as soon as possible, we won’t make any decisions that put anyone at risk.

Please see below an update on where things currently stand.

Suspension of the Super Rugby season

SANZAAR has already announced its decision to suspend the Vodafone Super Rugby season following the completion of Round 7 over the weekend. We are working closely with our SANZAAR partners to assess our options and I’m hopeful we can provide you with an update on what the remainder of the competition looks like in the coming days.

Super W Finals

Given it is a domestic competition and does not require international travel, the Super W season will continue but the playoff and Grand Final matches will be played in closed venues. The 2 v 3 playoff will be played at Ballymore Stadium at 130pm local time on Saturday between the Reds Women and Brumbies Women. The winner will advance to play the Waratahs Women in a closed Final the following weekend in Sydney.

Rugby Australia operations

Following a small number of people from our Sevens program showing flu-like symptoms over the weekend, Rugby AU HQ is currently closed for Monday and Tuesday for deep cleaning. All staff are working remotely while we await test results.

Our Chief Medical Officer, Warren McDonald, has already implemented a number of precautionary measures for our players and staff regarding travel, hygiene and self-management to protect them. This includes restricting access for visitors to the Rugby HQ in Moore Park over the coming weeks.

I am sure you can appreciate that these measures have been taken in the interests of our entire Rugby community’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Rugby in the community

Today, following a meeting of Rugby Australia and the State and Territory Member Unions, the collective decision was made to postpone Community Rugby until the first week of May, effective immediately.

This recommendation covers Rugby matches, Rugby training and face-to-face Rugby education courses. Although this decision has not been made lightly, it has been made with the interests of the participants, families and the broader community as the priority.

The decision was made taking on board all public health information and the advice of the Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer, Dr Warren McDonald.

The group acknowledges that this decision is a more conservative approach then has currently been recommended by the Australian, State and Territory Governments. However, it has been made to provide clarity to the Rugby community in a challenging and disruptive time.

Thank you

These are indeed challenging and unprecedented times and I am sure many of you are feeling concerned about what will come next. In terms of the game, Rugby Australia will endeavour to keep you informed as things progress, but the priority must be on each of us doing everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. Any decision we make will be with the health and welfare of our players, staff, volunteers, fans and our community front of mind.

I want to thank the entire Rugby community for their ongoing support under these extraordinary circumstances. We know that this is bigger than Rugby and is something that everyone in the world is trying to come to grips with.

We ask that you listen to the advice of experts and ensure you are doing your bit to help mitigate the impacts. Most importantly though, continue to look out for each other. The Rugby community both at home and abroad is strong and we need to stand together as we navigate this issue over the coming weeks and months.

We will be in touch as soon as we have any further information.

Yours sincerely,

Raelene Castle

Community Rugby Statement

16 March

Today, following a meeting of the National Development Panel, Rugby Australia along with the State and Territory Member Unions have unanimously agreed to postpone all Community Rugby until the first week of May, effective immediately.

This recommendation covers Rugby matches, Rugby training and face-to-face Rugby education courses. Although this decision has not been made lightly, it has been made with the interests of the participants, families and the broader community as the priority.

In arriving at this decision, Rugby Australia and the Member Unions have considered public health information and the advice of the Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer, Dr Warren McDonald. The group acknowledges that this decision is a more conservative approach then has currently been recommended by the Australian, State and Territory Governments. However, it has been made to provide clarity to the Rugby community in a challenging and disruptive time.

Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are fully committed to supporting the game through this difficult time and the decision will allow for six weeks of planning to deliver a modified season which will commence, at this stage, at the beginning of May. The modified season will vary at a local level to best support the needs of our local Rugby communities.

It is acknowledged that there are a variety of Rugby competitions underway and Rugby Australia will work closely with Member Unions to minimize this disruption.

It is not the intention for this decision to interfere with the non-rugby related activities of our Rugby clubs, such as operation of licensed facilities. Government advice should continue to be followed in this regard.

Rugby Australia and Member Unions will also work to increase the opportunity for people to engage in online education to ensure our critical workforces are ready for the recommencement of community Rugby.

The National Development Panel will meet weekly for the foreseeable future and will review this position and communicate any updates regularly.

Australian Sevens members tested for Coronavirus

15 March

Rugby Australia has confirmed that two members of the Australian Sevens program will be tested for COVID-19 after showing signs and symptoms associated with the virus.

The two members of the program both self-isolated after experiencing symptoms this weekend. Both had attended the Rugby Australia High Performance centre within its Moore Park headquarters during the past week.

As a precautionary measure, Rugby Australia headquarters has been closed for two days for an intensive clean. All administrative staff have been advised to work from home, and the Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams will not attend the facility on Monday or Tuesday.

Rugby Australia has implemented a stringent policy with regards to any player or staff member that experiences symptoms associated with the virus. The policy concerns any person who starts to exhibit signs and symptoms of the virus that has recently travelled overseas to any country or has been in direct contact with someone known to have the virus. The person must self-isolate for 14 days and be tested for COVID-19.

Results of the tests are expected to be known within 72 hours.

Statement regarding Vodafone Super Rugby and Buildcorp Super W matches in Australia

13 March 

Rugby Australia has today confirmed that three Vodafone Super Rugby and two Buildcorp Super W matches scheduled to be played in Australia this weekend will proceed as scheduled, and that members and fans will be welcome to attend the matches as normal.

As the situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve in the country, the Australian Government today announced that it had moved to a position to advise against organised non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more from Monday, March 16.

The Queensland Reds will host the Bulls (South Africa) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night as part of a Super Rugby double-header after the Sunwolves (Japan) play the Crusaders (NZ) in a match that was relocated from Tokyo. Then, on Sunday in Canberra, the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs are set to do battle at GIO Stadium.

Buildcorp Super W matches will also go ahead as scheduled across the weekend with NSW Waratahs Women facing RugbyWA Women on Saturday in Sydney, and Brumbies Women hosting Queensland Reds Women in Sunday's double-header in the nation's capital.

In line with the advice from the Government, all Vodafone Super Rugby and Buildcorp Super W matches in Australia beyond the upcoming round will be played in closed venues until further notice. There are no current plans by Rugby Australia or SANZAAR to cease international travel, however travel advice will be monitored closely over the coming days and weeks.

Rugby Australia, RUPA, and the four Vodafone Super Rugby teams agreed to the plan on a teleconference this afternoon following the Government’s announcement.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “This is a position that no one in our game wanted to be in, but we have made this decision in line with the Government response to this ongoing global health issue and in the best interests of our players, members and fans.

“The Prime Minister made it clear in his address to the media this afternoon that the Government’s advice is a staged response to this issue and that by Monday the next stage of their response is to advise against non-essential large gatherings.

“We are confident from this advice that there is no significant or imminent health risk to our athletes or fans for the weekend’s matches. At all times, any decision we make is with the health and welfare of those people front of mind.

“As this situation is evolving constantly, we will continue to review our position on a daily basis.”

Coronavirus Update for the Information of Media

11 March 

Rugby Australia has released the following update on the latest with regards to the actions and steps taken by the sport in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Rugby Australia & SANZAAR

Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Warren McDonald has worked closely with SANZAAR and Chief Medical Officers from the SANZAAR nations since the initial outbreak of the virus in January.

The SANZAAR CMOs continue to meet on a weekly basis to assess the information from the relevant health authorities in each country and continue to update advice on key preventative measures and planning considerations in relation to the virus, for the benefit of each Union and its players, match officials, medical teams, and support staff involved in Super Rugby.

Two of the Japan-based Sunwolves’ matches have been relocated to Australian venues after the Japanese government’s ordering of the cancellation of major sporting events in the country through early March. Discussions are ongoing at SANZAAR and with the Sunwolves in relation to future matches scheduled for Japan, with the team continuing to be based in Australia ahead of its match against the Crusaders in Brisbane on Saturday.

Travel guidance is being constantly monitored through the Australian Government and the various agencies to track flight cancellations, travel disruptions and the latest health and safety guidance.

Players, Support Staff & Match Officials

Among a number of preventative measures recommended by the SANZAAR CMOs, all players and support staff across the Super Rugby competition and Australian Sevens teams are being assessed daily by team medical staff for signs and symptoms of illness.

Part of these recommendations has seen the implementation of daily temperature monitoring for all team personnel and match officials. Any concerns arising from the testing are to be raised with the relevant National Union CMO and the player, support staff member or match official would undergo further testing and monitoring. At all times, the privacy and confidentiality of any player, support staff member or match official will be respected and safeguarded.

Fans

Rugby Australia and SANZAAR are also monitoring advice from the relevant Government authorities in relation to the attendance of sporting fixtures across each State and Territory. All venues within Australia are subject to minimum conditions with regards to their preparedness to host a sporting fixture including specific requirements for cleanliness and hygiene. Advice on the latest health information for members and ticket purchasers is being made available by National Unions and the teams.

Rugby Australia and SANZAAR will continue to assess the match environment in line with advice from authorities before making any future decision with regards to restricting match attendance or the postponement/cancellation of fixtures.

Community Rugby

With Community Rugby competitions set to kick off across the country over the coming weeks, Rugby Australia has produced a live document containing the latest information and advice from Australian Government and Health authorities. As part of this advice players, coaches, and volunteers are being asked to refrain from attending training sessions or club environments in the event they are unwell or experiencing flu-like symptoms, regardless of their recent travel activity.There is not currently any advice that recommends those in Australia refrain from attending or participating in sporting matches, however all members of the Rugby community are being advised to stay up to date with the latest advice from the Department of Health.

Quotes from Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer, Warren McDonald:

“Rugby Australia, in conjunction with SANZAAR has been monitoring the developments regarding Coronavirus since the initial outbreak in Asia in January, and we are continuing to share information and updates daily, as well as meeting formally on a weekly basis as the situation continues to evolve.

“There is a lot of misinformation in the public about the virus and the most important advice for the Rugby community is to follow the advice of the Health authorities and focus on good hygiene practices as the best preventative measure.

“We are being guided by the advice from the authorities and have taken some additional steps with regards to the monitoring of players and staff within our organisations and will continue to communicate the latest developments and make information available to those within our community."

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