BC Rugby Announces Update to Return to Rugby Plan: Opens Possibility of Low Contact Rugby in January 2021
BC Rugby (BCRU) have revisited their interpretation of the viaSport "Progressively Loosen" phase and have now projected a "low-contact" version of rugby for January 2021. There's no change to the "non-contact" club mandate for the rest of 2020.
The "low-contact" version of the game may be a 10s league, it's impossible to say what the BCRU's interpretation of "modifications to contact area" will look like at this time, and it may change between now and January.
One area that provides a loophole is high-performance. The BCRU will "resume support for identified high-performance athletes" and "plans are under way to deliver high-performance programs for both male and female athletes at both the senior and age-grade levels". It's unclear what level of contact will be permitted, if any, in high performance programs.
The BCRU still shows no sign of applying any regional policies even though the COVID statistics show a strong regional disparity. Recent COVID new case numbers for BC on Oct 21st by region:
Island: 0 BCRU RETURN TO RUGBY
- Updated October 2020 from BC Rugby
BC Rugby have announced updates to their ‘Return to Rugby in BC’ Plan which allow for in-person education, as well as paving the way for inter-club leagues for a 2021 spring season. The changes incorporate updated Return to Play guidelines from viaSport and Rugby Canada, as well as updated BC Public Health Orders.
BC Rugby remains in Phase 3 - all in-person rugby activity will continue to be limited to club in-house touch and flag rugby leagues, as well as training. Contact rugby is not permitted until the move to Phase 4 is made.
The updates provide a framework for what a 2021 spring season could look like, adopting the viaSport cohort approach. In Phase 3, cohorts are limited at 50 people for in-house rugby activity. When the move to Phase 4 is made, clubs can continue to operate in 50-person in-house cohorts, or move to 25-person cohorts for inter-club competitions which will consist of four-team divisions.
“While we will remain in our third phase for now, Rugby Restart, these changes allow us to plan inter-club spring leagues with plenty of time to allow clubs to plan their team cohorts, and we will factor in lead time for players to prepare for contact rugby matches,” said BC Rugby CEO, Annabel Kehoe.
The updated plan includes modifications to contact areas of rugby in Phase 4, including limited numbers in scrums, rucks and lineouts. To reduce the risk of community transmission, mauls and tackles above the waist will not be permitted.
Changes have also been made to the current phase of Return to Rugby, allowing for in-person education sessions and the use of indoor facilities for rugby programming. However, BC Rugby encourages rugby activity to remain outdoors wherever possible. Any in-person education sessions must adhere to the COVID-19 restrictions established by the Return to Rugby plan, including attestations, physical distancing, and sanitization measures.
viaSport BC’s expanded high-performance programming guidelines have allowed BC Rugby to resume support for identified high-performance athletes. At this time, BC Rugby will prioritize support for BC-based women’s rugby players preparing for the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, but plans are under way to deliver high-performance programs for both male and female athletes at both the senior and age-grade levels.
The updated version of the Return to Rugby in BC Plan is available at bcrugby.com/returntorugby.