Our squad’s in a good place, reckons Selkirk manager

Sean Rankin on an forward surge for Selkirk during a 13-12 win over GHA, shortly before the March shutdown was imposed (library image by Grant Kinghorn)Sean Rankin on an forward surge for Selkirk during a 13-12 win over GHA, shortly before the March shutdown was imposed (library image by Grant Kinghorn)
Sean Rankin on an forward surge for Selkirk during a 13-12 win over GHA, shortly before the March shutdown was imposed (library image by Grant Kinghorn)
Rugby in Scotland has crept a little closer to a return with a revised set of regulations under Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s lockdown guidance.

Scottish Rugby is still moving very cautiously on the road to recovery, however, citing the unique challenges faced by such a close-contact sport and the extra responsibilities it carries as a consequence.

Scottish Rugby has updated Return to Rugby guidance for clubs and schools, with specific Government steps on outdoor pitches applying from Monday, June 29.

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Clubs will be able to open their outdoor pitches for players (in maximum groups of eight from no more than three households) to undertake training on an individual basis. During this time, indoor areas (including toilets) are to remain closed.

In Phase 2, players cannot participate in traditional rugby activities, such as touch rugby or contact games, because of the physical distancing measures still in place.

Players must only undertake individual training activities and take responsibility for maintaining physical distancing and regular hand hygiene at all times.

At Selkirk RFC, team manager Tom Ramage said the players were “in a good place” despite the heavy restrictions.

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“The boys are quite good at pre-season training and summer training themselves,” he said. “One of the coaches, David Cassidy, has them doing a lot of run-throughs and exercise timing to see how their fitness is going over the summer. Obviously, we still have to restrict numbers regarding social distancing but we’re taking it one step at a time – listening to Mrs Sturgeon and seeing what she is saying.”

Community events, like the club’s recent charity challenge for the Selkirk Foodbank, and a rubbish clear-up, had been good for bonding and keeping the players together, added Ramage.

Players had been furloughed as well, which kept them active and their minds active, while senior players were taking the lead with younger players, keeping them motivated over the summer.

The squad was also guarding against doing too much pre-season activity too early, said Ramage.

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The Scottish Government is scheduled on July 2 to issue a further update on the possible re-opening of outdoor hospitality areas, such as rugby club outdoor bar areas.

Scottish Rugby said: “The close contact nature of rugby means there are unique challenges when it comes to the threat of spreading Covid-19. We ask everyone involved in our game to be patient and empathetic throughout this process, which may require extra caution to be taken to ensure we don’t risk spreading the virus further.

“This added caution may manifest itself by the community game not moving between phases at the same pace as in other sports. While we are all eager to return to rugby, the welfare of our friends, family, teammates and communities, to stay safe, protect others and save lives, must remain a priority.”

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