Bay of Plenty Rugby has one mission: return to play, and phase two of three is about to kick off on Friday.

Since the country moved swiftly into lockdown sports clubs followed suit but never veered away from the mission ahead and structured out a three-phased return to play plan.

Community rugby will take a step closer to getting back on the field as phase 2, "commence training," officially begins on Friday from 12pm when mass gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed.

Clubs will complete a 'Return to Training Covid-19 Safety Plan' and then their teams can start training.

Community rugby manager Pat Rae said a number of clubs have worked hard to prepare for getting their teams ready to train.


Some had already submitted their safety plans and hygiene protocols, and have a contact tracing system ready to go.

"Once the club's plans have been approved, and those clubs that use council fields have their bookings sorted, teams will be able to get back on the paddock and train."

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union has been working to provide all coaches with resources and support around preparing their players for a graduated return to play training programme.

Coach development manager Kyle McLean and Steamers strength and conditioning coach Thomas Stebbing presented an online workshop for the coaches.

Stebbing also designed a generic training programme with video tutorials for use by the players.

Rae said it is important that coaches and players take the same cautious and planned approach to training that have been followed by the nation to this point.

"So that we get back on the field safely, both from a fitness perspective but also with Covid-19 health and safety perspective as well."

The loosening of gathering numbers by the Government to 100 now provides all of our competition committees with the final piece of the puzzle that they need to formulate their competitions for all of our community rugby teams.

Rae said various competitions and draws should be able to be locked in over the next two weeks, giving more clarity to stakeholders on start dates and season lengths.