Rugby clubs suffer more frustrations as new lockdown ends hopes of adapted games in 2021
- Credit: DANNY LOO
The new national lockdown has put all sport, including rugby, on hold and left clubs further frustrated in what has been a year of frustrations.
Verulamians had decided before Christmas and the tier four restrictions to keep their juniors away until this Sunday. They will now be away for the duration of the lockdown.
St Albans meanwhile had high hopes of playing 15-a-side rugby in 2021 after a number of return to rugby adapted games.
In a Christmas message on the club's website, Saints' Fraser Morris said: "The squad resumed training on December 4 with 40 players in attendance and an inter-club tournament.
"Despite the disruption [in November] the squad has displayed great commitment and the club is in a strong position heading into next year.
"We returned to contact training and also received confirmation that we could play contact fixtures from December 18. The return of contact was greeted with enthusiasm by the players and coaching staff, although bodies were sorer that usual.
"A mention must go to head coach Richard Hope and strength and conditioning coach Lewis Gaffney for working closely together to get players physically prepared with a phased returned to contact."
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They were scheduled to play Welwyn this Saturday but first tier four and then the national lockdown have ended all hopes of that.
Morris also revealed changes to the club's squads below the first-team.
He said: "Scott Miniekis is moving from the second XV to third-team captain. That is because Mark Pragnell has stepped down due to work commitments and we would like to say thank you to Praggers for his organisation and commitment last season. The welcome return of our thirds was one of many fantastic successes last season.
"We also thank Scott for his leadership of the seconds, overseeing a league title and unbeaten season."
Chris Jones, Daniel Satchell and Harry Trude will work together as co-captains for the twos in a system the club believe will enable players to move between the first and second teams and still have a match day captain in the latter.
Anthony Stevenson will continue as first-team captain.
One player has left the club though, forwards coach Charles Woollard heading to the bright lights of Championship side Ampthill.
Morris said: "Charles has been a regular feature for the club's first team playing in the front and second row, and he has also been a great leader on and off the pitch.
"Good luck from everyone at St Albans."
Under the new national national rules only the Premiership and Allianz Premier 15s will be playing games.