Players Undergo Covid19 Tests As Rugby Premiership Return Nears

Players have been tested for Covid19 ahead of the start of the 2021 Nile Special Stout Rugby Premiership due March 6.

The PCR tests were carried out on Monday evening at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds.

The Uganda Rugby Union has funded the tests, with CEO Ramsey Olinga saying that the clubs couldn’t manage due to financial constraints.

The Union suspended all Rugby action on March 18 last year due to Covid19 pandemic, just after teams had played 13 of 18 games.

Consequently, Heathens were awarded the league title, their record extending 15th triumph.

The Union decided that there were no promotion or relegation for the season that ended prematurely.

Some of the players waiting to be tested. Denise/URU

After months of waiting, the Rugby Fraternity has something to smile for.

“The government opened Sports in October, they said that the requirements for us to resume was that all players must get tested at least before they start training. And also continue with tests along the competition,” Ramsey Olinga told The-SportsNation.

“We thought we couldn’t begin last year, because we didn’t have the funds to carry out the test. So we went back and mobilised ourselves and got some funds so that we can support the clubs at least to start the league hence now we have managed to test all the players today, some that have not managed will have another chance to get tested as well so that clubs can start training ahead of league start.

“The Union has funded the testing, we are paying for that, we think that the clubs have struggled with their club sponsors and they have had no activities for a longer time, we knew the clubs would not manage the funding so we took it up on ourselves.”

Betway Kobs star Joshua Ssempeke. Denise/URU photo

On who will fund the subsequent round of tests, Olinga said that they will sit with the clubs to discuss a way forward.

Each club has been asked to test 40 people that is at least 35 players and five officials.

Olinga added: “Everyone who will be involved on game days will have to be tested.

“When the players test positive, they will isolate, taken away from training and games until they bring back a negative certificate.”

The Union, last year, provided sanitisers, masks etc to clubs.

Olinga also stated that no fans will be allowed to attend the games.

Last week, the referees had a refresher course were they were moderated about many issues including Covid19 SOPs.

The league will be played under a single round robin format, running for nine weeks.

Players have been out of action since March last year

Opening Weekend

March 6, 2021
*Buffaoes vs Rams – 2pm (Kyadondo)
*Heathens vs Pirates – 4pm (Kyadondo)
*Impis vs Mongers – 4pm (Makerere)
*Warriors vs Hippos – 2pm (Legends)
*Rhinos vs Kobs – 4pm (Legends)



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