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Windsor RFC have 'duty of care' not to rush players back to contact rugby

Windsor RFC aren’t planning to take part in any contact matches, adaptive or otherwise, until they get their players back in for pre-season training at the end of June, with head coach Jack Pattinson saying he feels the club has a duty of care to protect players from injury.

It’s been more than 14 months since Windsor’s first team last played a competitive fixture in South West 1 East and the club plans to keep training fairly low key before ‘revving things up’ in July and August.

Pattinson doesn’t think it’s a wise idea to throw community players back into the deep end of contact matches until they’ve conditioned themselves for it physically.

Although the club isn’t in the process of fixing up friendly matches now that restrictions have been eased, Pattinson says it’s still been an exciting time with up to 80 players turning up on a weekly basis for outdoor group training.

“We’re going to be keeping it in house,” said Pattinson. “We’re doing a lot of internal stuff until pre-season starts on June 26.

“Our main concern is that after all this period of inactivity we don’t just barge back into play games.

“We’ve got to physically condition the players back to where they need to be.

“We’re training once a week at the minute and have had brilliant numbers, but we’re keeping it fairly low key and will then rev it up from June/July onwards and play some games in August ahead of the league season (which, if restrictions continue to be eased, is likely to begin in September).”

Pattinson says the players shouldn’t be rushed back to action too quickly and is working with the club’s strength and conditioning team to devise a training programme that ‘turns up the heat gradually’.

“Players could return this month,” he said. “There’s nothing stopping them, but I don’t think it’s a wise idea personally. It’s been 14 months without a competitive game. There was a period before Christmas when some form of contact was permitted but I don’t know how many clubs actually went full whack back into it. We owe a duty of care to the players to make sure we bring it (contact) back in gradually and it’s not just thrown straight back at them.

“It’s like being out with a long-term injury isn’t it and coming back and being thrown in at the deep end.

“We’ve got a really good strength and conditioning team who are working closely with me on this, and we’ll just gradually increase the heat on it until we get back to full whack.”

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