As the Top 14 and Pro D2 season arrives in its home stretch, the NRL has decided to toughen its health protocol to avoid reliving massive postponements of matches in a schedule that is not extendable, according to RMC Sport.
The National Rugby League (LNR) no longer intends to procrastinate with its health protocol. While eight matches counting for the 21st and 22nd days of the Top 14 had to be postponed and the schedule is becoming ever tighter, imposing a weekday programming of these matches, the health protocol put in place by the NRL will be very clearly tightened and, above all, include disciplinary sanctions, according to information collected by RMC Sport. The first measure is to wear a mask, which the NRL intends to impose permanently, even for people who are already immune due to a previous infection or vaccination. As for gatherings, the instruction is to hold them exclusively outside, apart from certain special cases. such as video analysis sessions or treatments. In these two cases, the NRL asks the clubs to respect social distancing and to ensure optimal ventilation of the places used for this purpose.
The NRL intends to lock everything down
In order to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission within the workforce, the LNR conveyed the message to the clubs that travel by road must be done by two coaches whereas a dedicated flight must be organized if the air route is used. During these trips, players who have not been vaccinated or who have not been previously infected must be placed in individual rooms with meals taken exclusively in the room. The protocol related to screening tests will also be reviewed and corrected with a minimum of three waves per week, one to take place three days before the match and one last the day before the match.. Players who test positive will be immediately placed in isolation. Regarding the rest of the workforce, if the number of positives remains below three, group training can continue. Otherwise, only people vaccinated or previously infected can continue to train in groups pending a report from the dedicated commission of the NRL. Always in the idea of limiting the risks, the NRL is shifting into high gear regarding the behavior of players during matches.
Potentially heavy penalties
Indeed, collective celebrations are now prohibited, as are contacts such as handshakes, the League specifying that this applies mainly when a player has touched his mouthguard. In order to more strongly encourage clubs and players to comply with this new protocol, the NRL has decided to toughen up the tone in terms of sanctions. Failure to comply with the guidelines could be punishable by a fine of between 2,000 and 10,000 euros per failure.. In the most extreme cases, the leaders of French professional rugby could go so far as to give away a lost match to the team concerned. An argument that could hit the mark with the clubs in view of the fight tighter than ever for places in the finals of the Top 14. However, a grumbling could also rise within the players and the frames, some criticizing the too rigid character of this new protocol, ensuring that it is not even applicable as it stands. This should not change the NRL’s mind, which seems desperate to ensure that its competitions go to term at all costs.