Warriors Women will return to Sixways this weekend after the RFU announced that all Premier 15s clubs can start training under Stage 1: Elite Sport Return To Training Guidance.
This first stage has been agreed in consultation with club coaching staff, the RFU, club medical teams and the Government.
Stage 1 allows for individual conditioning or small groups of individual conditioning within a performance environment, whilst maintaining strict social distancing at all times. Contact training is not yet permitted.
Since being awarded their Premier 15s status by the RFU in April, Warriors Women have been busy strengthening their squad ahead of the 2020/21 campaign with a mixture of experienced internationals and exciting youngsters committing their future to the club.
“A lot of preparation has gone into returning to training at Sixways,” said Warriors Women Director of Rugby Jo Yapp.
“We are now really excited to be coming back together and we are so proud of how hard the players have worked remotely and we can’t wait to get started.”
Clubs will need to provide a written declaration to the RFU that they have met a number of key criteria including:
- All players and support staff must undertake an Education Module which will inform a formal “opt in” process for return to training.
- Confirmation of the appointment of both a Covid-19 Manager and Covid-19 Medical Lead.
- Clear guidance regarding cleaning and hygiene standards for training facilities.
- The provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for the setting.
- Confirmation of medical screening for players and support staff, which involves the completion of a symptom checklist and temperature check before entering the training facility.
Meanwhile, all contracted England Women’s players will have taken part in stage one training by Friday 31 July and will link up with their respective clubs on their return.
In preparation for the 2020/21 season, the RFU are also hosting a virtual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme with club staff this week, session topics include: coaching, medical, performance psychology and disciplinary.
Nicky Ponsford, the RFU’s head of women’s performance said: “We’re pleased to confirm Premier 15s teams are able to return to stage one training once they have satisfied the relevant requirements to start.
“We have been in regular and detailed dialogue with all clubs and taken on board individual circumstances.
“After a four-month lockdown period, players need to return to a good training environment to push forward in their physical development.
“Getting clubs back to training and the league up and running is a big priority. Stage one is the first step and we know we need to be flexible given the evolving nature of COVID-19.
“A lot of work has been carried out between the RFU, clubs and wider rugby stakeholders to reach this point and plans to progress to the next stage are being worked through.
“The welfare of the players and staff is our only priority, and we thank clubs for their continued co-operation.
“We’re also holding our annual CPD event with clubs virtually throughout this week. There’s been some great discussion and engagement so far and it’s fantastic to be able to connect and start to look forward to next season.”
No timescale has been set for clubs to move to Stage 2 while no date has currently been set for the start of next season’s Premier 15s. The RFU will update in due course.