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PRO14 Issue Statement on Coronavirus

The PRO14 have released a statement regarding their plans for the remainder of the season after the outbreak of the Coronavirus

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(photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The PRO14 have released a statement to express their approach to the remainder of the season after the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Following the postponement of the Six Nations fixture between Ireland and Italy, PRO14 confirmed that this weekend’s games between Zebre and Ospreys and Benetton against Ulster would be postponed as Italian Rugby called off all rugby fixtures in the country this weekend. 

Now the tournament organisers have confirmed that they are working with all the respective authorities to see how the season will unfold. 

“In response to the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, PRO14 Rugby has initiated a number of measures to meet the challenge this poses to Guinness PRO14 fixtures. Since last weekend, detailed scenario-planning has been on-going and it is paramount that the well-being and health of teams, their supporters, staff and match officials are not compromised. To date, no country has implemented a travel ban, however, restrictions put in place around mass gatherings in Italy have caused the postponement of two Guinness PRO14 fixtures scheduled to take place this weekend. The Chief Medical Officers from each of the Guinness PRO14’s participating unions – the FIR, IRFU, SARU, SRU & WRU – will provide tournament organisers with regular updates from their relevant health and government authorities. This includes (but is not limited to) Situation Reports released by their governments or health authorities, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in their country and any travel restrictions to and from that country. Should the situation change PRO14 Rugby will fully abide by any instruction or restriction from the medical authorities/governments of each of our territories,” the statement read. 

It went on to explain that as of now all the games will go ahead as expected, but they will reschedule if needed. 

However, if there is no suitable time to relocate the match it will result in a 0-0 as seen at the recent Rugby World Cup when games were called off due to severe weather conditions in Japan. 

“Currently, matches will take place as scheduled unless otherwise directed by local or national authorities or governments. PRO14 Rugby will remain in frequent contact with the CMOs of our participating unions to remain fully informed of the conditions in each territory. Beyond the two postponements this weekend, all scheduled Guinness PRO14 fixtures are set to go ahead – including the refixed Round 11 game between Dragons and Benetton Rugby on March 6. A process has already begun to find alternative dates for this weekend’s postponed fixtures involving Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys and Benetton Rugby v Ulster Rugby. In the event that any future games are postponed and no alternative dates can be found to ensure the fixture is fulfilled, the board of Celtic Rugby DAC has agreed that both teams will be awarded two match points and the game will be deemed a 0-0 draw. This stands in line with current World Rugby practice and resembles protocols in other rugby codes and international sports,” the statement finished. 

Should the virus continue to spread it will more than likely see further disruption to the rugby calendar and the hope will be that it doesn’t have too much of an effect on the standings league table come the end of the campaign.

Pro14

Ospreys to help set up ‘field hospital’

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Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

The Ospreys training base at Llandarcy Academy of Sport is to be transformed into a field hospital in a bid to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Work has already started at Llandarcy (which is part of NPTC Group of Colleges) and will be completed in the next three to four weeks.

The beds would be used for COVID-19 patients and other patients who need medical care, but they will be nursed in separate areas.

“The Ospreys have always been rooted in the community and region and we were happy to help in any way to ease the pressure on the NHS and to assist in dealing with coronavirus,” said Andrew Millward, Ospreys managing director.

“Allowing our training base at Llandarcy to be used in this way is the least we could do as we all come to terms with dealing with this virus at this time.”

There are no plans to provide any intensive care beds in Llandarcy as most seriously ill patients will be treated and cared for in the main hospitals in the region.

The College which runs the Llandarcy Academy of Sport has offered its premises for use as a field hospital with 340 hospital beds available for use.

The public, health and private sector, along with further education, are working closely together in an unprecedented response aimed at safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people living in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Llandarcy Academy of Sport is normally used by thousands of students as well as keep fit enthusiasts. The Ospreys also use the state-of-the-art facilities as their training ground.

Mark Dacey, CEO and Principal of NPTC Group of Colleges said the College would do everything it could to help in the current situation.

“These are difficult times for everyone,” said Dacey.

“We all need to pull together and do whatever we can to help tackle the ongoing COVID-19 emergency that we are all caught up in. The College will do whatever it can to help support our communities and its people during this very difficult time.”

Wyn Evans, Managing Director of the facility thanked everyone involved for coming together and backing the move to provide a field hospital on the site.

“Our users, which include the Ospreys, Swansea Ladies Football, members and lots more are fully supportive. It’s a challenging time for everyone, but we all realise measures have to be taken in order for this situation to be over as quickly as possible,” said Evans.

Tracy Myhill, Chief Executive of Swansea Bay University Health Board, paid tribute to the Ospreys for the willingness to allow Llandarcy to be used at this time and said she was “grateful and proud’” of how communities have come together.

Stadiums, leisure centres and a holiday park are being converted into field hospitals across Wales to help with the response to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The Welsh Rugby Union have already confirmed both Principality Stadium and the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan will be used as emergency venues to help with treating coronavirus.

Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli – the home of the Scarlets – is also acting in the same way.

Courtesy of Welsh Rugby

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6 Nations

Rodney Parade to help in fight against coronavirus

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Rodney Parade has become the latest sporting venue to open its doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Newport stadium has been provided free of charge as a base for front-line NHS staff to check if they have the virus and are able to continue working. At this stage only NHS staff are eligible to be tested at Rodney Parade to see if they have COVID-19. Dragons managing director Mark Jones said: “The health service and care workers are doing an incredible job in such difficult circumstances so we are happy to offer our help and support in any way we can.

“Playing our part in the local community is at the heart of what we’re about at the Dragons and in times of crisis people stick together. We would urge everyone to follow the latest NHS advice on protecting themselves from the virus, particularly to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.”

A statement from Aneurin Bevan Health Board read: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is essential for delivering services for the people of Gwent. It is fundamental during this time when the most vulnerable people need us most.

“We have set up a drive-through facility to test staff for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and help us get our teams back in to work on the front line. The testing site is located at Rodney Parade in Newport and we ask that everyone practises the stay-at-home guidance and does not visit the site.

“Everyone at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board would like to thank the team at Rodney Parade for their community-focused approach and accommodating us during these difficult times.”

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Pro14

Ulster Star Commits Future to Province

Ulster have announced that one of their key men has signed a contract extension with the northern province

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ulster have announced that Ireland prop Jack McGrath has committed his future to the club after signing a contract extension.

The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal that will see him remain with the province until 2022. 

Having joined Ulster from Leinster before this season McGrath is delighted to have his future sorted. 

“On arriving at Ulster, I was welcomed with open arms and I have very much settled here since joining at the start of this season. It’s a fantastic set-up in terms of the players, coaches and support staff that I get to work alongside every day – and I look forward to what the future holds for the province over the course of the next two years,” he said. 

The 56-cap Ireland international and a British and Irish Lion McGrath has a huge amount of experience behind him and head coach Dan McFarland thinks he has a big role to play in the future of the province. 

“Jack’s reliably strong performances and vast international experience make him a great asset to Ulster – so I’m delighted that he is chosen to continue his career here with us. By renewing the contracts of players such as Jack, we are continuing to strengthen our squad now, and also into the future, given the important leadership he provides for our young talent starting out in their careers. I’m confident that Jack will play an important role in Ulster’s successes in the years ahead,” he said. 

It is a huge boost for Ulster to have his services to rely upon over the coming seasons as they look to continue to build on their brilliant season to date.

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