Saint Lucia male and female rugby players like most participating competing athletes looking to qualify at three major events including the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Coventry Stadium, Birmingham, England 2022 are keeping a close eye on Covid -19 development especially as to when the opportunity would presents itself to resume training.
Rugby Americas North has indicated that the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers, the Casco Games (formally Pan Am Games) and World Cup 7s Qualifier would be held in July once the Covid-19 protocols and vaccines are put in place.
The VOICE spoke to Wayne Pantor, Saint Lucia Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) Technical Director earlier this week on the latest development in terms of Saint Lucia’s participation at the above mentioned qualifiers. This is what he had to say.
“The organizers for the three events will have to finalize the location for the respective qualifiers, because it would be one tournament for all”.
According to Pantor, “Saint Lucia men and women teams are more than likely to participate; during the months of August to early October we held a series of tournaments to include Rugby 5s and 7s and unfortunately as we were about to commence the Rugby 10s, we had to close shop like any other sporting organization due to Covid-19 and protocols put in place by the Health Authorities as our sport is a contact one”.
He added, “It has been challenging, but the SLRFU has created a great pathway for development both at the junior and senior levels going forward”.
Pantor said, “We are presently developing an action plan (Micro and Macro) for preparation for the qualifiers; the Micro is the day to day programme, while the monthly programme is for the total period with strength; conditioning and field work”.
“Going forward the SLRFU may have to create a player bubble for a proper training environment”
Pantor continued, “The challenges we may encounter would be visa issues and travel restrictions in reference to testing and layover in transit; players would have to quarantine before departure and on return to Saint Lucia”.
Meanwhile, Men’s Rugby 7s have been played at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur in 1998, with a women’s event played for the first time at Gold Coast (Australia) 2018. It is a core sport on the programme, meaning that it will be played at all future Games.
To date, New Zealand won every single Commonwealth Games men’s Rugby 7s tournament until they lost in the final to South Africa at Glasgow 2014. However, they regained their title at Gold Coast 2018, with the New Zealand women’s team emulating their men compatriots by making it a unique double.