Caithness president's Covid fears over away games
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Caithness president George Sinclair admits the club has worries about travelling to away matches if coronavirus cases continue to rise in the run-up to the new rugby season.
Following the announcement that national and regional leagues will be suspended next term, clubs in National League Division Two and National League Division Three will face each other in new-look competitions, with finals being played at Murrayfield Stadium.
Caithness, who played in National Three last season, are set to be placed in a group of six teams along with Aberdeen club Gordonians, Forfar club Strathmore, Cupar outfit Howe of Fife, Perthshire and Edinburgh-based Murrayfield Wanderers.
Scottish Rugby has announced that competitive rugby has been given an indicative start date on Saturday, October 31. However, Sinclair says the club is concerned that if transmission rates have not improved by the end of next month there is a possibility they risk bringing the virus back into the county.
It is a big ask to put 20 players in two minibuses and travel to city centres at the moment and mix with people.
“The SRU are making the best of the situation,” he said. “The starting date is not far away and there is a question on whether things can start on October 31.
“Caithness as a club are concerned about travelling issues. We are in a league of six teams which include Gordonians, based in the heart of Aberdeen, and Murrayfield Wanderers, based in Edinburgh.
“It is a big ask to put 20 players in two minibuses and travel to city centres at the moment and mix with people with the risk of coming back here with the virus to Caithness. It is definitely a concern and there is a big question mark.”
This season, Caithness had a 2nd XV accepted into Caledonia North Four before all leagues were suspended.
Instead, they are due to take on other regional teams such as Orkney, Invergordon club Ross Sutherland and Inverness Craig Dunain, along with Highland 2nd and 3rds, in a contest called Caledonia North Competition Three.
It is one of three competitions that will go ahead in Caledonia North region this season.
Sinclair says if regional competitions are allowed to go ahead they will be able to field a 2nd XV due to the popularity of the concept.
“We have a good number of guys who are interested in playing in the second team,” Sinclair said. “There is even a chance that some of them could make the step up into the first team.
“But to have so many men playing rugby just shows you what a big asset having a 2nd XV is to the club.”