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Local club training gets under way

Team training was its own reward last night.

Under Phase 2 — Prepare to Play — of New Zealand Rugby's Return to Rugby Requirements, 2019 grand finalists OBM and YMP were the first local premier club teams to train since the code was shut down by pandemic restrictions.

From midday on Friday, full team training sessions will be possible, but the efforts of Enterprise Cars OBM at the Oval and East Coast Farm Vets YMP at Barry Park were praised by Poverty Bay Rugby staff.

“We were at both grounds — having brought resources such as sanitisers and sprays — and saw all of the protocols implemented,” Poverty Bay community rugby manager Ray Noble said.

YMP ran a “super-organised session”, having set up to do so at 5.15pm for a 6pm start, he said.

They trained in two pods of 10 — “an important requirement to prioritise the safety of the community”.

Noble said credit should go to the council of clubs and the coaches for completing Return to Training plans that were signed off by the Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union and Gisborne District Council, as required by New Zealand Rugby.

Brian Leach (YMP) and Trevor Crosby (OBM) are two of the six head coaches of premier teams who now look forward to kick-off on June 20.

Senior One teams will begin their quest for the Lew Patterson Cup on July 4. Junior Advisory Board (JAB) competition will begin on July 25, and secondary school rugby, in the third term.

Two other premier teams will start training tomorrow night, another on Sunday and the last on Tuesday. From midday on Friday, gatherings of up to 100 will be allowed.

Poverty Bay chairman Hayden Swann has been impressed by the way the rugby community has responded to the pandemic challenge.

“Our staff — in particular Ray, Miah Nikora (referee education officer and coach development manager) and Kahu Tamatea (player development officer) have employed social media to innovate, finding new ways to stay connected with different groups in our community,” Swann said.

“The whole office has worked with coaches, referees, JAB, the council of clubs and Gisborne District Council and done a great job.”