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English pro rugby union to relax COVID-19 constraints

By Paul Smith
(Photo by PA)

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Social distancing and mask wearing will become optional at English rugby’s professional clubs when 85 per cent of their players and management are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


According to the Daily Telegraph, English rugby union’s Professional Game Board (PGB) have announced this applies to Premiership and Championship clubs plus the women’s Premier 15s competition.

Masks have been compulsory indoors and in some outdoor situations since clubs returned to training in the summer of 2020 following the first nationwide lockdown.

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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown
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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown

But a press release from the Rugby Football Union now confirms that some regulations will be relaxed this week should the players and staff reach the agreed threshold of full vaccination. This is defined as being two weeks beyond their last dose of an MHRA approved vaccine.

Should two clubs meet when one has failed to reach the threshold, the new regulations will apply to one but not the other.

PGB chairman Chris Booy described this initiative as a “strong encouragement” of vaccinations so that clubs “can proactively contribute as much as possible to the safety of our wider communities.”


“The health and safety of everyone involved in the elite game is our priority and we know it is vital we ensure the vast majority of players and management are fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.

“It is still a personal choice as to whether you receive a vaccination, but we want to strongly encourage as many players and staff as possible to be vaccinated so that we can proactively contribute as much as possible to the safety of our wider communities and of our players, staff and supporters.

“Whilst we hope that there will be no need to reverse any of these proposed changes, the PGB will continue to review all MOS in line with Government advice.”

Current testing protocols – a minimum of two lateral flow tests per week – remain unchanged and masks will still be worn by players and staff in designated medical rooms.



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