Rugby hopeful for a brighter summer
- Credit: Withycombe RFC
The young players at Withycombe Rugby Club could see some light at the end of a long tunnel in the form of summer tournaments to get the game going again.
As a contact sport, rugby has suffered more than most through the Covid restrictions and also endured the frustration of a return to the first stage of the rugby roadmap when this latest lockdown was announced.
While it has been incredibly tough for the Withycombe juniors, plenty of rugby sevens in the summer would provide some welcome competitive relief for the club.
“There is obviously nothing we can do at the club at present and rugby has sadly gone back to stage 1 of the RFU roadmap for a return,” said Mark Long, Chairman of the Withycombe Juniors.
“While there is nothing we can do as a club for training, the coaches have been arranging zoom meeting and setting challenges for the players to keep them motivated during this current lockdown.
“We can only push the players to use their permitted window for exercise and remain fit and active, while obviously sticking to the Covid guidelines.
“It has been incredibly frustrating for everyone, particularly as we were so close to a full return to competitive rugby on the road map, but we are all appreciative of the situation.
“It is just frustrating from a rugby perspective, particularly for the older age groups. When you get to the ages of 14 and 15, there are County opportunities, the Devon Cup and development programmes.
“Unless they start the County Cup very late in the season, that looks like being wiped off for this season.
“However, I do feel sure the summer will see a proliferation of sevens’ festivals and rugby tournaments, purely because so much has been missed through the normal season.
“The RFU guidelines in normal times do recommend a break from rugby in the summer and young players are encouraged to try other sports because there is a feeling they need a break from the contact nature of rugby.
“Hopefully, this summer will be a little different.”