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Curtain falls on club rugby season

The inevitable announcement finally came last week – the club rugby season for the year has been cancelled, yet another sporting casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professional players returned to training with their teams on Monday.

Chairpersons of various rugby clubs throughout the Helderberg this week shared their thoughts after the announcement by the South African Rugby Union that the club rugby season would only start next year.

Strand Pioneers – Taariq van der Ross: “The cancelled season is a blessing in disguise for Strand Pioneers. We were in the progress of rebuilding and the extra time now on offer is being taken advantage of by club management.”

Gordon Leopards – Johan van Eeden: “We are disappointed that there’s no rugby, but we also fully understand that safety and health comes first. We all need to have an understanding of the situation. Also, maybe this will make the guys more hungry for next season; we have time to prepare, so there’s many positives.”

Strand – Gershwin Leyds: “I was always in favour of the cancellation of the season. There’s many challenges in rugby when it comes to social distancing and the transportation of players, so we’re happy. It also provides us with a well-deserved break. We can plan better and host virtual meetings to prepare for next season.”

Strand United – Redwaan Hassiem: “We’re relieved. As a community club we play all over the Cape metropole and we care for the well-being of all our players and their families. We are also aware of some of the negative impacts, but this also gives us an opportunity to think differently, plan differently and ensure our players are safe before we go out there again.”

St George’s – Janine de Lange: “We are all disappointed, but this is the best option to avoid the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. We were geared up, we had a training camp followed by a squad camp and had put a lot into preparations, so it was very disappointing. It’s our 80th birthday next year, so we trust and hope things will be back to normal by then.”

Raithby Universals – David Williams: “It is difficult because we’re a community club and rugby is close to our hearts. We accept it because it’s circumstances we can’t control. We have to move on and get things in order for next year. There’s definitely a silver lining somewhere.”

All Saints – Randall Thomas: “We’ve already started motions towards holding our annual general meeting sooner, to elected a new executive committee to start with the task at hand – to prepare for next season. This time will also be used to upgrade facilities to get it up to standard. Players have been involved in a lot of community work. At the end of the day, the health and safety of our community is our priority.”

Helderberg – Bokkie Carstens: “We have to adapt and I think there’s much more positives than negatives coming from this situation. Many players have been playing with injuries for a long time and now have the time to recover and come back stronger. I think the planning for next season will be lekker. I am actually happy about this.”

Macassar – Godfrey Afrika: “We are in the midst of a serious pandemic, so we accept all the regulations to which we now have to adhere. It’s unfortunate that sport has been affected to the point where the season has to be cancelled. We are now looking at a possible tour at the end of the year, should regulations allow for it.”

Sir Lowrians – Eugene Mayinje: “For us the cancellation of the season is very sad; it’s difficult time for our country. We understand the risks involved and respect the decision for everyone’s safety. It’s also tough for the players, who always want to be active on the field, but we hope things will look better by the end of the year. For now, the focus is to keep fit, have a positive mindset and stay healthy.”

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