SCU centre Johnson Porykali takes the ball to the line against Lismore City in FNC rugby. Clubs could be back training by June 1. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus
SCU centre Johnson Porykali takes the ball to the line against Lismore City in FNC rugby. Clubs could be back training by June 1. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Early return to rugby on the cards for Far North Coast zone

FAR North Coast rugby union players could be back training as early as June 1 with games starting the following month.

The zone is aiming for an eight-round competition which would start in the first week of July.

"At the moment we're thinking July," FNC administration officer Wayne Millane said.

"We've asked clubs to nominate their teams again and if we start that first week in July it will be finals as normal with the September date we already had booked in.

"There will be no more than eight teams in each division and we'll operate under government restrictions and advice from Rugby Australia."

Millane indicated contact drills would likely be avoided in the first few weeks of training.

He said clubs could also explore running a trial game at the end of June as part of its pre-season preparations.

Whether or not crowds are allowed to attend games will not impact the season going ahead.

In addition to social distancing, restrictions and controls at training and match day will remain around food hygiene, restricted spectator numbers and dressing room access.

Dressing rooms could also have to be cleaned and cleared out between games.

More will be known about return-to-play options for junior rugby players next week.

NSW Rugby chief executive, Paul Doorn, said Rugby Australia and state unions had been collaborating closely to formulate a plan that will see the community game return as soon as possible.

"There's detailed planning underway as we continue to liaise with government around if and when community sport can resume," Doorn said.

"We're preparing age-appropriate guidelines and session plans to assist clubs with the restart to play.

"We'll be assisting clubs in competitions across the state to make sure they're prepared for a return to play if that becomes a reality.

"This is an exciting development for our rugby community, but there's still plenty of work to be done and we'll be reliant on advice and approval from the government before any official start date is announced.

"COVID-19 is a complex, evolving and unprecedented situation that we are all facing as individuals, families, businesses, sporting organisations at all levels, teams, leaders, and as an entire community together."



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