See below Rugby Victoria's ongoing updates on COVID-19 and the wider effects on the Rugby Community.
Health Advice Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For guidelines on what to do if there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 at your Rugby Club or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus click here
Rugby Victoria Aiming for a July Return Date
On behalf of the Rugby Victoria Community, we would like to recognise and thank the frontline workers who are providing critical services to ensure our community remains safe and healthy during these difficult times.
Well done to each and every one of you for playing your role in maintaining social distancing to help flatten the curve.
Rugby Victoria has been working closely with Rugby Australia and the State Government to ensure we are best placed to re-commence community Rugby.
Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are developing a return to play framework that will support clubs, participants and volunteers as we prepare to transition back to playing Rugby. The framework will be released over the coming weeks.
Rugby Victoria is facilitating weekly Zoom meetings with Club Presidents to keep them informed. We have recently extended an invitation to Presidents of our affiliated bodies. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the Presidents for the positive way in which they have engaged in these meetings.
Victoria remains in a State of Emergency until the 11th of May. Premier Andrews has announced a plan to test 100,000 Victorians over the next two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the State, to better understand how the virus is spreading in the community and to prepare us for the potential easing of restrictions.
Rugby Victoria has advanced its planning to recommence Rugby. Rugby Victoria presented a number of scenarios to the Club Presidents last week. Rugby Victoria is hopeful that we can recommence community Rugby during the month of July. We are working closely with a range of key stakeholders to identify ways to slightly extend the traditional Rugby season beyond 30 September into October.
Rugby Victoria is also participating in weekly meetings with Victorian State Sporting Associations, the State Government and VicSport. These meetings are providing a great platform to collaborate to identify issues facing the sector and strategies to enable solutions.
Rugby Victoria will continue to follow the advice of our State Government, Health authorities and the Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer.
Rugby Victoria has pledged its support for the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe App – a major initiative being deployed to help protect the health of the community by quickly alerting people who may be at risk of having contact with Coronavirus.
Consistent with its ongoing commitment to support the health and welfare of the Rugby community, Rugby Victoria has called on players, volunteers, Rugby officials and fans across the state to download the app to play an important role in curbing the spread of the virus.
Please continue to stay home, stay safe and stay connected.
FURTHER POSTPONEMENT OF COMMUNITY RUGBY ACROSS AUSTRALIA
FURTHER POSTPONEMENT OF COMMUNITY RUGBY ACROSS AUSTRALIA
Rugby Australia and its State and Territory Member Unions have made the collective decision to further postpone Community Rugby across the country until at least June 1.
All Rugby activity including matches, training and face-to-face education courses will not be conducted during this period.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the length of time Government restrictions will be in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, Rugby Australia and the State and Territory Unions are not in a position to provide a specific return date. The organisations will continue to review this position as further updates from Government and Health Authorities are received.
Rugby Australia General Manager Community Rugby, James Selby said: "During this postponement we will continue working with stakeholders across Community Rugby to plan for a range of recommencement dates to ensure that as soon as Government restrictions are lifted, the Community is ready to mobilise and deliver great Rugby experiences in 2020.
"In the interest of the safety and welfare of all participants, preparation and training time will be factored in ahead of Rugby competitions recommencing.
"Community Rugby and its people are the lifeblood of our great game and our decisions will always be made with the interests of participants, families and the broader community as the priority.
"Once again, we want to thank our entire community for its understanding and patience through this time and encourage everyone to continue to follow Government and health advice to keep them and their families safe."
- Chris Evans - Rugby Victoria General Manager
Safety and Welfare
Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our Rugby Community which includes players, coaches, referees, volunteers and staff.
To support this, Rugby Australia has produced guidelines around what to do if there are suspected cases within your Rugby Community and how best to communicate this. The document can be accessed here.
Just a reminder that following the decision by Rugby Australia and the Member Unions to postpone all Rugby activities until May alongside the restrictions introduced by the Federal Government on March 23, all gym facilities within Rugby Clubs must remain closed indefinitely.
Further information on public gatherings can be found here.
Rugby Australia wants to ensure Community Coaches feel prepared and confident once the Rugby season returns. Over the coming weeks all accredited Coaches will be invited to join an online forum to keep up to date with all things coaching and access useful resources.
In addition to this, a quick reminder that Smart Rugby accreditation expires on April 1. We would also encourage anyone who’s interested in coaching to complete the free online course. Please click here for further details.
The Game Management Guidelines are now available in three mediums (video, PDFs and PowerPoints) via the Rugby Australia portal here.
Rugby Australia will regularly share educational videos on ‘Refereeing Best Practice’. The first video around ‘Half Time Game Plan’ can be viewed here.
Furthermore, we are now using the application Zoom to run online referee conferences. The course schedule will be finalised within the next week. In the meantime, the Zoom app can be downloaded for free here.
Community Advisory Panel
Rugby Victoria will open the next Community Advisory Panel to all Club Presidents. The next meeting will be held on Thursday 2 April, 4.00pm. Zoom details will be provided.
A reminder to make sure you have completed the latest Rugby Xplorer administration courses. You will receive your accreditation via the Learning Centre once completed.
Furthermore, Rugby Xplorer version 3.2 is now available for download and the latest updates can be read here.
Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are committed to providing a regular Community Rugby update each Friday morning via our website to ensure everyone involved in the game is up to date with the latest rugby-related information. There will be an EDM sent directly from Rugby Australia to participants in the game.
As the situation is evolving, please know these updates might change however we will do our best to keep you informed and ensure our Rugby Community remains connected throughout these tough times.
The Rugby season remains postponed until the first week of May. This continues to include all Rugby games and training sessions across all age groups and formats as well as face-to-face coaching and match official courses.
This week Rugby Australia had planned to launch National Coaching Week which involved hosting dozens of workshops across the country.
This campaign has been postponed until May and we will endeavour to keep you updated on the new dates, times and locations.
The good news is that we’ve still been able to launch around 350 educational videos for coaches across all age groups and formats which can be viewed here. The videos are free and a fantastic tool to help plan for the season ahead.
A reminder that Smart Rugby accreditation expires on April 1, 2020 so please ensure you’re up to date. The course takes just a short time to complete and the steps are outlined here.
An educational video on ‘Refereeing Best Practise’ will be shared each week on the Rugby Australia’s Referees page here. The first video will go live early next week.
Rugby Australia’s Referees webpage has been updated to provide a more user-friendly experience with all the relevant and up-to-date information.
A new platform called GoTo Training is being trialled to help connect referees and run meetings.
Further updates on this will be provided in the next week. Furthermore planned face-to-face courses will now be made available online over the coming weeks. More information around confirmed dates and times will be provided within the next week.
Safety and Welfare
We have been receiving questions around what people should do if there are suspected cases of rugby participants, coaches, match officials, club administrators or volunteers. Our advice is to follow the directions of our Government and Health officials.
Rugby Australia and the Member Unions are also working on a ‘Return to Play’ checklist for clubs, associations, coaches and players. This means when the season recommences our participants are ready and conditioned to play, our coaches are well-equipped for training and clubs are providing a safe environment for their Rugby community to enjoy.
This document will be made available in the coming weeks.
All the latest information and updates on Rugby Xplorer can be found here.
Community Advisory Panel
Rugby Victoria facilitated the first Community Advisory Panel meeting on Thursday 19 March 2020. The panel includes a cross section of staff, board and club Presidents to help guide our planning based on expert advice from Rugby Australia, State/Federal Governments(s). Based on the current advice, community competition Rugby will re-commence on 16 May 2020, with finals in mid-September. This will allow appropriate time for the ‘prepare to play’ program to be implemented. As the environment continues to evolve and change, we will review the need to push the season out further.
While these are challenging times, we know the spirit of the Rugby community is incredibly strong and we encourage you all to check in with each other and keep connected online. We will soon be sharing new content including ‘online challenges’ through the Rugby Australia & Rugby Victoria Facebook page so make sure to keep an eye out.