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RFU statement: Immediate change to Covid testing in English rugby

By PA
(Photo by PA)

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Rugby chiefs have agreed to symptomatic-only Covid-19 testing in the English elite game. The change, which takes place with immediate effect, to Covid testing protocols will apply in the Gallagher Premiership, RFU Championship and Allianz Premier 15s. Routine weekly testing on all players and staff will pause, with testing focusing on those players and management who have coronavirus symptoms. 

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English rugby’s Professional Game Board (PGB) said: “Following a recommendation from the Professional Rugby Testing Oversight Group in England after extensive consultation with club medical teams, public health and independent medical experts, the PGB have approved the change which comes in with immediate effect.”

PGB chair Chris Booy added: “The safety of everyone involved in the game and the wider community has been our only priority since the very first outbreak of Covid. The Testing Oversight Group have done a fantastic job in managing the testing policy of the sport and adapting it when required to prioritise the safety of all players and staff.

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“This has included, at times, the difficult decision to cancel fixtures when it has been the right thing to do to manage risk. Following this extensive consultation, we are now able today to align more closely with national guidance and can reduce our testing to focus our testing on players or staff with Covid symptoms.

“All players and staff will continue to be monitored by their medical teams for those symptoms, with any testing requirements and positive cases still coordinated and managed by club medical teams.

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“The Government are looking to take a phased approach to get back to ‘business as usual’, with review points and further changes as, and when, conditions allow. We believe that elite sport should adopt the same approach.”

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Booy said that the proportion of fully-vaccinated players and staff across the Premiership is currently 97 per cent, with 94 per cent in the Championship and 96 per cent in the Premier 15s.

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