Some of the saddest moments in recent history were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak definitely threw a wrench into a lot of activities, and some even experienced mental trauma due to this lockdown. Perhaps one of the few upsides was that carbon emissions were reduced, and also some businesses saw an increase in their user base.
Sports fans all over the world were devastated. All of the major events, like the Olympics, scheduled to take place in 2020 had to be canceled. Touch rugby suffered a similar fate, and both fans and athletes had to accept the reality and adjust to the new situation. So, let’s see just how this pandemic has affected touch rugby.
Given how this sport requires physical contact to be played, it pretty much suffered the same fate as all of the other regular sports. It was not allowed to play touch rugby, just like soccer, basketball, and all other sports with lots of players. What this means is that events were canceled, and all of the scheduled matches and competitions had to be moved into a different time slot, once the situation improves.
Once vaccines became available, countries began to lift some of these restrictions. However, the vaccination rate varied from country to country, so each government had its own rules on how things would be handled based on that situation. Some allowed for sports gatherings to go through and others did not.
As for players, they could still train individually, or even in groups, depending on what they agreed on among themselves. Clearly, they had to do this in private as club grounds were off-limits. So, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically going to perform worse once they are back on the court.
Covid Protocols in 2021
In 2021 the pandemic is still very much present, but it’s more manageable, and touch rugby is allowed, so long as everyone respects Covid protocols. This means that players need to take health questionnaires and undergo testing every week to ensure that someone did not catch a virus and to prevent it from spreading further.
In spring, it was confirmed that the National Touch Series will go through and that clubs will be allowed to arrange matches with their peers, as well as organize training sessions on club grounds. That being said, they still need to follow all of the regulations enforced by their government regarding travel. So a limited number of people in a single-vehicle, wearing face masks and keeping a 2-meter distance. This is all part of the so-called Return to Play protocol and basically, every sports club should follow it.
Researchers also performed tests to determine the level of viral transmission of Covid during a rugby match. Although more data is needed to have conclusive results, current findings suggest that this rate is really low, despite the close contact nature of the game.
Hopefully, things will go back to normal as they were prior to the pandemic. No one can say with certainty when that will happen, but given the nature of the virus, it might take some more time.