The section coordinators and coaches in the Mini and Midi sections have put together information for parents, carers and players about a return to Old Anniesland which is reproduced below.

GHK Junior Rugby Section
10th July 2020

Message for all GHK Junior Rugby Section Players and Parents – Return to Rugby at Old Anniesland We hope that you and your families are all well and are coping with current lockdown conditions.

The last 14 weeks have been exceptionally challenging for all of us and, quite rightly, community sports like rugby have taken a back-seat while we have all been getting to grips with more important things like protecting the health and well-being of our families, and wrestling with the demands of home-schooling and parents juggling work.

As restrictions on lockdown are relaxed over the coming weeks and months, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel and there are signs that youth contact sport may be allowed to restart in the community in time for the start of the new school year in August.

As part of the transition to Phase 3 of easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland, the Scottish Government have confirmed that organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity can resume for children and young people under 18 (subject to guidance) from 13 July. Children under 12 no longer need to physically distance indoors or outdoors, all of which suggests that youth rugby (and particularly Mini rugby) may be allowed to play contact rugby sooner than most of us would have expected at the start of lockdown.

Today the Scottish Rugby Union has published guidance on what that means for youth rugby in Scotland ( Phase 3 of the lockdown restrictions will see children under 18 allowed to participate in training sessions involving touch rugby and passing drills with players participating in training bubbles (up to 15 players from unlimited households). A transition to modified then full contact training and matches could potentially be allowed as lockdown restrictions are relaxed in later Phases over the next few months.

GHK Rugby Club is fully committed to restarting Junior Section rugby at Old Anniesland for season 2020/21. We might not initially be able to train in the same way or in the same numbers, or play against the same teams that we did last season, but rugby in some shape or form will be coming back to Old Anniesland this year.

Much depends on the virus infection rate in Scotland continuing to decline and there is no guarantee that some restrictions will not need to be re-imposed if there is another spike in the infection rate. That could involve:

• further lock-downs or localised lockdowns, including sports teams or sports clubs being temporarily closed-down as part of the track-and-trace process. • limits on player numbers and mass gatherings which may restrict us from having large numbers of opposition teams visit Old Anniesland and matches only played within the Glasgow region.

• training times being staggered across different age-groups more than they already are depending on how many players are allowed to use our pitches at any particular time. • access to playing fields being limited to players, coaches and a limited number of parents with one-way drop-off and pick-up systems in place within the grounds at Old Anniesland.

But whilst there is still much uncertainty, please be assured that planning for a Return to Rugby at Old Anniesland is underway.

Health and safety has always been of paramount importance in a contact sport like rugby and the approach at Old Anniesland to Covid-19 is no different. The Estates team have undertaken detailed assessments of outdoor and indoor facilities and are putting together Covid-19 protocols for all GHK sports teams that use Old Anniesland in line with Scottish Government Covid-19 rules together with guidance from other sporting bodies like SportScotland.

GHK Rugby Club is also following Scottish Rugby Union Covid-19 guidance and will be undertaking risk assessments for all GHK Junior and Senior Section teams (focusing for the time being on training sessions and access to the grounds and facilities at Old Anniesland). The Scottish Rugby Union will be providing Covid-19 safety training for all coaches and each age-group team will be appointing Covid19 Team Leads for their age-group who will be responsible for ensuring that all Colvid-19 rugby guidelines and safety rules at Old Anniesland are followed. In turn, those Team Leads will regularly report to the GHK Rugby Covid-19 Co-ordinator, former GHK Rugby President Alan Dunnipace.

GHK Rugby Club is also mindful that many young players and parents may be concerned about returning to rugby after the summer. We would like to hear the thoughts of all of the GHK Rugby family on Return to Rugby and would encourage everyone to take a couple of minutes to fill-out a short GHK Junior Rugby Section survey (answers are recorded on an anonymous basis).

More details on what rugby at GHK will look like next season – be it touch rugby, modified contact games or full matches against opposition teams – will follow soon, but for the time being, please put a circle in your calendar for Sunday 23rd August 2020 when the GHK Junior Rugby Section will be returning to Old Anniesland.

And for those who would like more details on possible restart dates for rugby in Scotland*, please click on the link below to see the Scottish Rugby Union’s Return to Rugby Roadmap.

GHK Junior Rugby Section

  • The current SRU Return to Rugby Roadmap covers expected dates for the return of senior rugby in Scotland but with youth rugby considered lower risk U18 age-groups may be allowed to return to various stages of contact rugby earlier, evidenced by today’s announcement that youth rugby can start playing touch rugby ahead of Adult players from 13 July.