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Premier 15s: Coronavirus testing options to be reviewed during season break

Premier 15s season has been suspended amid a rise in coronavirus cases across the UK; A Sunday Times report says RFU will consider testing for league, which is classified as an elite sport and allowed to continue under government guidance

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) are reportedly using a two-week break in the Premier 15s season to consider the introduction of coronavirus testing.

The competition has been disrupted by Covid-19 throughout the start of 2021 and has been temporarily suspended, along with the Gallagher Premiership.

The government has granted the league “elite sport” status, but there has yet to be any mandatory testing within the Premier 15s.

However, tournament organisers have implemented temporary new laws to limit close contact between players, including a reduction in scrums and mauls.

According to the Sunday Times, the RFU are to use the pause in the season to review options for testing and any new programmes would work alongside the adapted rules currently in place.

Earlier this month, USA international and Harlequins flanker Kristine Sommer raised the issue on social media, writing on Twitter: “Here’s a question – do we think Women’s Premiership will bring in testing to keep players safety up? Asking for myself and all current women’s players.”

Sommer later added: “Follow up – I’ll say it 100,000 times how grateful I am to play rugby in the UK, but when is player safety a concern? No real bubbles – no testing. This should be discussed, right?”

The men’s Gallagher Premiership players are regularly tested for Covid-19, as are those on international duty with England.

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