A GROUP of Edinburgh and Glasgow players will take the biggest step yet on their return to competitive rugby on Monday when they come out of furlough and resume contact training at BT Murrayfield and Oriam respectively. This first wave of returnees will be made up of those most likely to figure in the PRO14 double-header between the teams next month, with fringe players due to follow them in the coming weeks.
Over the past few weeks players from both pro teams have been training at Murrayfield, but only on an invitational, individual basis in order to observe the rules of the government’s furlough scheme. All of the country’s professional players, along with a significant proportion of administrative staff, were furloughed by the SRU in April.
The Warriors had hoped that their first group of players to come out of furlough would be able to return to Scotstoun this week, but arrangements have yet to be finalised for using the facility, which is run by Glasgow Life and shared with other sports. However, by managing to train at Oriam on the outskirts of the capital, Danny Wilson’s squad can at least work separately from Edinburgh for the time being, and should still be able to start work at Scotstoun well in advance of their two matches against their rivals on 22 and 29 August.
“Head coaches are implementing a phased return for players to contact training from 20 July onwards to fulfil the PRO14 season fixtures,” a statement from the SRU said yesterday. “Those players remaining on furlough will continue to have access to voluntary fitness sessions and coaches will keep player requirements under constant review.
“Scottish Rugby continues to utilise the Job Retention Scheme across players and employees given the financial pressures on the organisation. Scottish Rugby’s medical team continue to closely monitor players as we strictly adhere to government, medical and public health guidance.”
Those players returning tomorrow will be the ones most likely to feature in the two games between the sides. With well over 40 players in both squads, an immediate return en masse was deemed unnecessary from a match-preparation point of view. Keeping some players back from full training at this stage also ensures that, should there be any health issues with the initial group of returnees, a reserve pool is there to be called on.