Sun 03 Apr 2022 00:21


Whilst the vaccine programme is developed for COVID-19 the team environment will be quite different. Every person involved in a rugby team or game will have a responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Latest Update April 2022:

If someone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19 or tests positive for Covid, please inform the appropriate team manager and please stay away from the club for at least 5 days until that person has a negative Lateral Flow test and you yourself also test negative.

All of us can play our part by understanding the situations where risks of Covid-19 infection and transmission are likely to be higher; we must do everything we can to keep Covid away from our clubs as one case in our player base can very quickly and easily become 30 cases within 80 minutes....(that's a very high R number indeed....) - so we must have mitigation measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
The Team Sports Risk Exposure Framework (which the RFU works to) identifies full contact rugby in the "increased risk" category, as players are exceeding the 3 seconds or more of face to face exposure repeatedly during our game - therefore we must find extra ways to mitigate the risk. This clearly means we must go beyond simple government rules, which are in place for the general public who are not spending 80 minutes heavily breathing on each other and frequently coming into bodily/facial contact with another 29 people at a time....of course our rules are different.
As a County, and a provider of grassroots sports, our clubs have a responsibility to take measures to reduce the risk of transmission; this means not only taking steps when we are aware of positive cases within our teams, but also to take any further measures necessary to try to avoid it coming into our teams in the first place - thus LFT's for all visitors to our clubs, firebreaks for more than 3 linked positive cases, and the "stay away from our clubs if you have Covid in your household" rule. We cannot wear layers of PPP like they do in other high risk situations, neither do we want to return to the distanced forms of non-contact rugby we had in the first year of the pandemic - so, if we want to retain our sport in its current format, we must, as the Team Sports Risk Exposure Framework says, take any reasonable measures (eg asking people who have a positive in their household to stay away) to mitigate the risk to our sports communities. Hampshire have agreed  to this as a "reasonable measure"and it applies to all club volunteers, parents, players, siblings, officials and spectators.

Along with vaccination, personal hygiene, self-isolation with significant symptoms, social distancing and minimising face-to-face contact are the most effective means of prevention of the spread. In the team environment we will need to be even more careful to avoid exposure and spread.

Outlined below are your responsibilities that will remain relevant until vaccines are sufficiently effective.

Your 10 Rules of Engagement for safe management of COVID-19 are:

  1. Education - familiarise yourself with the measures being implemented by your Club.
  • In the interest of your own safety and that of your colleagues, you will need to follow the guidelines
  • We are all in this together – teamwork is key in our sport, its everyone’s responsibility to stay safe
  1. Daily screening - until further notice you will be required to:
  • Assess yourself for symptoms before leaving home and undertake an LFT before attending the club. This will require you to identify if you have had a high temperature or fever overnight or if you have developed cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or you are feeling unwell, or if you test positive on LFT.  If you do, you should remain at home, contact your team doctor or primary care doctor.
  • If your temperature is above 37.5C you should NOT come to training. If your temperature is checked at the club and is found to be above 37.5C, you will be sent home and advised to contact your team doctor or primary care doctor.
  1. Adhere to hygiene rules
  • More frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, regular disinfection of heavily used areas and surfaces and the use of gloves can reduce the risk of infection. 
  • At home you should also either sanitise or wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap (or use a hand sanitiser) whenever you go and come from your house
  • Avoid touching high-contact surfaces such as door handles, public computer keyboards etc.
  • Use hand sanitisers which should be available on entry and in all rooms at your Club
  • Avoid spitting, bring a sweat towel for personal use
  • Use the crook of your elbow or a tissue (always dispose of used tissues) when coughing or sneezing
  • Do not share water bottles or use team water bottles
  • Do not use communal nutritional supplements
  1. Observe social distance rules – office, gym, medical room/ training field (when non-contact training)
  • A distance of at least 2 metres between the people present helps to significantly reduce the probability of virus transmission. Due to the movement involved in sports, the distance should be kept at as generous a distance as possible.
  • Office, gym and medical room facilities (when open) should be arranged to facilitate at least 1m separation between individuals. Dispersion of respiratory droplets is aided by ventilation. Where possible any communal areas should be well ventilated.
  1. Reduce body contact to a minimum
  • Shaking hands, clapping hands, embracing and cheering or mourning in a group should be avoided where possible. 
  1. Change and shower at home
  • The use of changing rooms and showers in sports halls and sports clubs are subject to strict rules - please check with your club. Please arrive at the club ready to play if you can.
  1. Temporary suspension of car pooling
  • While social distancing measures are in place, the sharing of cars for training and competitions should be avoided – unless travelling with an existing housemate. The use of minivans is equally unsuitable. Your Club will apply specific policies for travelling to matches when competitive rugby resumes.
  1. Refrain from events such as general meetings and celebrations
  • While social distancing remains, team meetings should be held outdoors or in spaces which allow for 1 person per 4m2 or via digital/online meeting resources
  1. Reduce the size of training groups
  • While social distancing and public gathering restrictions are in place, teams may need to train in small groups which are aligned to government measures in place at that time (eg groups of <5, <10).
  • When small groups train, sessions should be staggered with no overlapping between groups. Smaller groups limit infection risk, and should an infection occur, the number of people who need to potentially quarantine is limited.
  1. Where possible, outdoor activities are safer
  • Sports and exercise in the fresh air make it easier to keep to distance rules and reduce the risk of infection through the permanent exchange of air.

All participants agree to comply with all instructions issued by the Club and its COVID-19 Manager in respect of all processes, further testing and attendance at the club.





  1. This protocol is designed to provide a safe platform for your groups to Return to socially distanced non-contact and adapted contact training: there is no rush no-one is under any obligation to return to training, and coaches in vulnerable households or with vulnerable family members will need to consider that and communicate that to their respective coaching teams, particularly for youth teams where we have minimum adult - child ratios to fulfil.
  2. Stick to the rules, however annoying/inconvenient. We are all in this together and making it work is vital to our club’s future. All coaching teams will be supported to deliver safe, well-organised sessions. Every opportunity will be given to adapt training sessions to best fit the needs of the players; training space and timings will also be clearly communicated but guidelines will be expected to be followed strictly and consistently throughout the club to ensure a risk managed approach. If anyone has any difficulties with the agreed protocol, they are invited to discuss this with their Chair of Playing, who will bring suggestions and feedback to the Return to Rugby Review Group. The Return to Rugby Protocol will be reviewed regularly in order to make any necessary changes/adaptations as Government/RFU Guidance allows. If you are having any difficulties with any part of the operational protocol please consult with your Chair of Playing so we can keep our messaging consistent across the club. (We are here to support you.)

Currently, session group size and training/playing formats is determined by the RFU's Return to Rugby Roadmap (currently Phase F, February 2022). Social distancing of 2m is still advised wherever possible for coaches/spectators. 

For those who wish to return to play, training sessions can only commence once the Club Committee has confirmed all resources are in place. We will require all groups providing training to ask their attendees to register for the session in advance (so we always know how many are due to attend). Our overall consideration must be to keep you all safe; we intend to review these sessions and make adjustments to the protocols if needed and according to any Government/RFU advice, as we learn and move forward, so please be patient.

We would request that every player comes well prepared for the session, changed ready to go, brings their own water bottle, sweat towel, hand sanitiser if preferred and keeps their belongings pitch side at 2m distance from other players’ belongings. There will be NO sharing of water bottles or any other personal equipment except for those in the same households. If bibs/headbands are used during training sessions, these must be washed after every use.

Coaching staff may be wearing masks, particularly if they are more vulnerable and choose to do so, but this is not compulsory.

A qualified First Aider will be required at every session: the First Aider will be responsible for checking that all players are feeling well/have had no Covid symptoms prior to training and checking there is an accurate attendance list for the session (which may be compiled by them or by another member of the coaching team or Team Manager). Should anyone be injured or become unwell during the session, requiring the First Aider to come closer than 1m+ to assist, the First Aider must wear gloves and, if close contact with the face is required, may wear a mask/visor to do so, and may request that the injured player puts on a mask whilst any assistance is given. The First Aider must make a note on the attendance list of any players assisted in this way. If anyone displays any symptoms which, in the First Aiders opinion, resemble those of potential Covid infection*, the player will be isolated immediately and the incident will be reported to the Club Rugbysafe Officer Sarah Whatmore, who will advise the First Aider and follow a reporting procedure.

(*Please note current Emergency First Aid recommendations (link below) which advise chest compressions only [no rescue breaths] where CPR is required.)

Spectators or additional people will be allowed at the sessions but are asked to keep a respectful, appropriate distance from the sidelines. Parents of children under the age of 12 are asked to remain at the site at an appropriate distance. Parents/carers are permitted to observe a session at a distance from a safeguarding perspective but must observe social distancing guidelines.

Please note: the clubhouse (including toilets) may NOT be open during lockdown periods except during Bar Takeaway service times


To attend a training session, you must follow these three steps:

Step 1 – Confirm to your team manager that you have read and understood these notes. You will not be considered for a session until we have received this confirmation from you.

Step 2 – You must book attendance in advance through your Team Manager, so we can ensure we can manage the numbers – please be prompt with your confirmations as Team Managers will have to organise numbers according to the amount of players we can accommodate in any one session – this will be made clear by your team manager and will be guided by space sharing, light conditions, adequate numbers of coach/player ratios.  Your Team Manager will confirm your attendance at their session or let you know if it is full.  

Step 3 – Prior to leaving home, you must assess whether you have (or exhibit any symptoms of) COVID-19 (high temperature or fever, a new continuous cough or new unexplained shortness of breath, unexplained loss of taste or smell) and undertake a Lateral Flow Test if possible: if there is any indication of Covid,, you should remain at home, and inform the Team Manager.  

You must not attend a session unless:

  • You have been confirmed for that session by your Team Manager
  • You are sure that you
    • have no ‘Covid 19 symptoms (including a high temperature, new continuous cough or unexplained difficulty breathing, unexplained loss of taste or smell)
    • have tested negative on a Lateral Flow Test
    • have isolated for at least 5 days if you have had symptoms or been confirmed as Covid positive by a doctor, and have had subsequently had a negative Covid test 
    • are feeling generally well……

If, after completing this check, you feel unwell in any way, please do NOT attend training so we can help protect others. If you think you have Covid symptoms, yor you have tested positive on LFT, you should remain at home, and inform the Team Manager.

 Please read all documentation to ensure that you are fully aware of all protocols and considerations.