No reservations about return to training, says Saints co-captain Waller

Alex Waller says there are no reservations at Saints about returning to training.

By Tom Vickers
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 12:30 pm
Alex Waller is excited about returning to training
Alex Waller is excited about returning to training

Premiership and Championship clubs have now been given provisional authorisation to begin non-contact training amid the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning Saints could be back at Franklin's Gardens as early as this week.

The Professional Game Board announced on Tuesday morning that clubs would need to provide a written declaration to Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union that a number of key criteria have been met.

Stage one protocols allow for individuals or small groups to train in the same facility, while adhering to social distancing rules at all times.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The criteria clubs must meet includes ensuring that all players and support staff complete an education module to make sure they are all able to make a decision on whether to opt in to training with all the available knowledge.

Clubs must appoint a Covid-19 manager and a Covid-19 medical lead, set out cleaning and hygiene standards for training facilities, provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and conduct daily screening, including temperature checks.

No timescale has been set for a return to contact training, or for a return to play.

But Waller insists the feeling is excitement rather than trepidation among the Saints squad.

"We trust the advice we'll be given from the government and the club above most of our pay-grades here," Waller said.

"So as soon as we get the okay to go in, the boys are ready to fire again, whether that be behind closed doors or whatever.

"It all still needs to be worked out, but the boys are pretty excited to get back to work."

Following the Professional Game Board meeting on Tuesday, PGB chair Chris Booy said: "I can confirm that the Professional Game Board which incorporates representatives of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Premiership Rugby, Rugby Players Association (RPA) and Championship clubs has given provisional authorisation for Premiership and Championship Rugby clubs to move to Stage 1: Elite Sport Return to Training Guidance.

"The clubs will need to satisfy a number of requirements to start Stage 1 as we continue the huge amount of work being undertaken to enable a safe return to training.

"The welfare of the players, management and staff is our only priority, and we look forward to the season resuming when it is safe to do so."