Munster players returned to training this morning for their first on field training session since March. There were no positive PCR results which meant that the all players and staff were cleared to return to the High Performance Centre at UL.
On the player front, Chris Cloete and CJ Stander have just returned to Ireland due to travel limitations from South Africa and both players will self-isolate for the next 14 days.
The majority of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy squad have not returned to training to limit the number of people working in the HPC.
However, Academy quartet Thomas Ahern (lock), Jake Flannery (out-half/full-back), James French (prop) and Ben Healy (out-half) are training with the senior players.
On the injury front, John Ryan has undergone a minor operation on his shoulder and has already begun his rehab period.
Tadhg Beirne (ankle) is continuing to rehab well while new signing Damian de Allende, Keith Earls and Calvin Nash have short-term injuries. All four players are expected to recover ahead of the proposed August fixtures.
Joey Carbery (wrist/ankle) is also continuing to rehab well and the out-half is expected to make a return to action in September.
Training will be very different this week as our squad will train in small groups of seven. Each pod will work with one designated coach without any interaction with other groups, while there are stringent hygiene measures in place around the use of gym equipment.
Players will arrive, train and go home. There will be no showers, changing room facilities, kitchen areas or video analysis rooms available.
Daily temperature checks are one of the mandatory protocols that all players and staff must undergo to access the High Performance Centre. A DAMOC Thermo Check has been installed, a contactless and accurate method of temperature measurement.
The device will provide a body temperature reading within 2 seconds and will immediately flag high readings.
The players and staff also completed a two-part online educational webinar last week. The first section informed them about COVID-19, how it’s transmitted and the signs and symptoms they should be aware of. The second part of that online module was specific to the High Performance Centre in UL, outlining what will happen when they arrive and what is expected of them.
Before being permitted entry to the HPC, each player must complete a daily questionnaire at check-in, before having their temperature taken. If, for some reason, the questionnaire raises a concern, this alerts the medical staff to a symptom suggestive of COVID-19 or the player’s temperature is above 37.5°C, a decision will be taken on the next course of action for that player.
The HPC has a designated COVID-19 manager to ensure all the protocols that have been directed and overseen centrally by the IRFU are being followed.