THE Nelson Bay Gropers could be returning to the mighty Groperdome in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union (NHRU) as soon as July as the easing of current COVID-19 restrictions look set to continue.
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In a statement from New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU) on Friday, 1 May a restart in the second half of this year has been flagged.
“Based on the current advice from government and the anticipated easing of COVID-19 restrictions in coming months, in particular the potential lifting of public health orders on June 29, we are targeting the month of July for NSW community rugby to return to the field,” said the NSWRU statement.
“We will also be actively working to assist our clubs and their staff and volunteers to prepare for the restart of training and games.
“These activities are likely to have continuing restrictions and controls including increased food hygiene, restricted spectator numbers, dressing room access, and ensuring no one attends who is ill, has flu-like symptoms or has recently returned from overseas, etc.”
While this is welcomed news for rugby on the peninsula the dynamic nature of the pandemic still clouds exactly what format Club Rugby will take for the 2020 NHRU Season.
Gropers President Ray Milton said that the NHRU has earmarked a number of potential changes to the competition.
“The NHRU have been discussing possible options and games could have reduced lengths, the team sizes might be reduced to 7s or 10s, and there will be no spectators,” said Mr Milton.
“They will be meeting again in the coming weeks to sort it out and when they are organised we will start to get things rolling.”
By Mitch LEES