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Highland Rugby Club's Chisholm would have no objections to pushing back the sport's planned October return


By Andrew Henderson

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Highland Rugby Club’s director of rugby Iain Chisholm says he would not be against pushing back the start of the rugby season.

The Canal Park outfit are slated to start a new competitive programme on Saturday, October 31, but restrictions around the country are being tightened rather than eased.

At Highland’s level, all players are amateur and have day jobs that they balance rugby around, meaning there are more contacts involved.

Chisholm suspects that for the majority of people at the club, the risks of travelling across health boards for a game of rugby might not stack up.

“My own personal opinion is that there isn’t really any hurry to get back,” he explained.

Highland Rugby Club's first team are scheduled to resume competitive action against Stirling Wolves on Saturday, October 31. Picture: Gary Anthony
Highland Rugby Club's first team are scheduled to resume competitive action against Stirling Wolves on Saturday, October 31. Picture: Gary Anthony

“We would still have to self-isolate, so that has been a massive issue for numbers for us.

“People have livelihoods, so as long as people have to self-isolate with the slightest bit of contact, I don’t think rugby will go ahead.

“I just don’t think it’s sustainable for the game.

“I look at our fixture list – on October 31 we have Stirling and Ellon at home for our second team, and Ellon away for our third 15. That’s a minimum of 60 bodies we need.

“At the moment, we’re looking at about 30 bodies at training consistently, and the rest of the guys have said that they will come back when restrictions ease around self-isolating. It’s not really worth the risk for them.”

In theory, with a one-off season structure announced and a full fixture list in place, it should be an exciting time for anybody connected with a club.

In reality, that would feel like Chisholm is getting ahead of himself as there are still too many unknowns that could affect things before rugby restarts fully.

“Whether it’s going to be January or October, there’s no guarantee that this is going to go ahead but you’ve got to be proactive and have a plan,” he said.

“Being a rugby professional it’s great to at least try and get the game back.

“I’m really not sure how other clubs are coping with it. I’ve been speaking to Edinburgh Accies and they’ve got huge numbers, so it’s obviously not affecting them as much as it is here.

“As a club, we’re really excited, particularly to get the third 15 going, but whether this is going to happen, I don’t know.”

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