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Rugby targets safe return

Published:Thursday | August 13, 2020 | 12:21 AM

Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU), Jerry Benzwick, says his administration is working closely with the Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Health and Wellness, to ensure a safe return for the rugby union season this year.

A proposed restart for the rugby union season was set for October.

However, the recent spike in COVID-19 cases locally, requires the JRFU to do further assessments to ensure a safe resumption of the sport.

“Because of the delicate nature of rugby as a full contact sport, we are ensuring that we review and examine all the parametres that can allow us to safely play,” Benzwick said. “With the current spike in COVID-19 happening in Jamaica, we are sensitive at the most to start.”

“One of the top priorities for us is to get policies in place and we must hold several meetings about several things regarding rugby union,” he added. “We must do our due diligence, which we have not completed regarding return to play policies.”

President of the St. Catherine Thunder Cats Rugby Club, Anthony Johnson says he believes that the spike in cases will not cause any further delay for rugby union this year.

“I don’t think the current spike should affect the game too much because for the most part, I think the Government has a handle on the issue,” Johnson told The Gleaner.

“We must take the necessary precautions, but it should not have that great of an impact on the upcoming season.”

Meanwhile, Benzwick is encouraging all rugby union teams to start preparing for the upcoming season because once the JRFU is given the green light to play, each team must be ready.

“We are on our natural break right now and the season would not be going on until October,” he said.

“Teams should continue training, be fit, be ready, because any time we get the approval to play rugby, we need you to be ready.”

Athena Clarke