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From Roberts' generous NHS gesture to Mbanda joining Italian Yellow Cross... how rugby has reacted to pandemic

By Josh Raisey
Rugby players during the pandemic

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With all rugby in Europe suspended for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, players have been doing their bit in different ways to help their communities. According to, Jamie Roberts – who is currently living in Cape Town while with the Stormers – has offered his flat in Cardiff to NHS staff who need it. 


The ex-Wales and British and Irish Lions centre, who is a doctor himself, has opted to remain in South Africa for the time being but still has a flat near the University Hospital of Wales. The Welsh great is just one of many players doing their bit to help amid this health crisis. 

During a period in which people are being encouraged to limit social interaction, with even the recommendation that those over 70 years of age do not leave their houses, there is a British-wide appeal to help those who are most vulnerable at this time. 

Wasps have started an initiative where their players call fans who are in isolation at the moment. England’s Brand Shields and Dan Robson have got the ball rolling, as has winger Josh Bassett, as Wasps aim to get as many people involved. Other clubs such as Gloucester and Leicester have made fan calls. 



Elsewhere, Wales prop Rob Evans has offered on Twitter to help get food to the elderly while being off training. So too has ex-Scotland and Harlequins winger Tim Visser. They are typical of rugby people making good use of the free time they have on their hands at the moment. 

Perhaps the player that has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty, though, is Italy and Zebre flanker Maxime Mbanda, who has joined the Italian Yellow Cross. 

The 27-year-old has shared photos on Instagram of himself clad in a decontamination suit as well as the Yellow Cross uniform, working in the country that has suffered the most deaths outside of China as a result of the virus. 

WATCH: Freddie Burns takes RugbyPass through his fitness regime during the coronavirus lockdown

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