It has been a long year without schoolboy rugby but after President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement, last night that South Africa will move to Lockdown Level 1 we as a school rugby community are one step closer to seeing the game we love played in the manner that only schoolboys can.
Ramaphosa's announcement during the country's "family meeting" on Sunday provided a spark of hope amongst school rugby followers, players, coaches, and their parents about the possibility of the game getting back to being played.
The reality is however that we will only see the first schools' rugby matches by the middle of April. Schools are already following the conditions put out by the South African Rugby Union (Saru) in their return-to-play strategy for amateur teams and their players.
The South African Schools' Rugby Association (Sasra) officially announced the protocols that need to be adhered to before teams could play each other on the 15th of January 2021. The protocols included four weeks of non-contact training and moving to four weeks of contact training in phase 2.
Saru has also started a virtual coaching roll-out plan for schools' rugby which runs from 4 March until 1 April 2021. The first matches according to the protocols and conditions could therefore be played after the 15th of April 2021.
Schools and tournament organisers are already getting ready to start their season in mid-April. The annual Barloworld Toyota Menlyn Noord/Suid and Wildeklawer tournaments seem to be the biggest that will still be held in 2021. Monument of Krugersdorp and Kearsney College of Durban are celebrating their centenaries this year.
Monnas will be celebrating their 100th year with a rugby day on the 24th of April, while Kearsney was to planning to celebrate their centenary with their annual Easter Festival, but will have to make other plans this year.
If the status quo stays the same the Craven Week would also be a reality for 2021.
#StepUpStepOut #ReturnToPlay #Covid19 #LockdownSA