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In line with USA Rugby’s published guidelines, the CGRU has developed the following guidelines to assist member clubs through the complicated process of returning to play rugby in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.


These guidelines are subject to change dependent upon the current state and local health guidelines.  With any changes by your respective state, county or municipality to a more conservative stage of activity, the corresponding rugby club will be required to take further actions and precautions.


The Carolina Geographic Rugby Union (CGRU) is clear that neither these guidelines nor any guidelines make playing rugby safe during a pandemic. The CGRU still advises against gathering and training until everyone who is willing and able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine gets the COVID-19 vaccine(s), completes the treatment, and does not participate until the recommended waiting period for vaccine effectiveness and/or when the pandemic is considered “over.”  These guidelines are meant to REDUCE THE RISK of infection while participating in rugby; they do not eliminate the risk. Athletes who do not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk to the team than those who consistently practiced these safety measures. Written confirmation from players and staff that they understand the risks involved in returning to training and playing is recommended.

As we return to play rugby, the CGRU is providing resources as suggested guidelines for its member clubs. Clubs should review these documents and make use of the tools they provide. Clubs are reminded that state and local regulations may differ and that each club should understand any local rules currently in place.

Administrator Preparation Checklist 

Symptom Checker Document

World Rugby Training Modules

Return to Rugby - Best Practices

USA Rugby Guidelines (as of March 9, 2021)

Your regional health mandate supersedes any policy outlined by the CGRU, USA Rugby, or World Rugby: 

If your local county allows social activity such as sports and gatherings, then you can create a plan for how you can return to play which should include:

  • The coaching staff and the officers of the club should complete the World Rugby COVID-19 Return To Play Awareness for Coaches & Players Course.

  • All clubs should review the *NEW* USAR R2P Guidelines (updated as of March 9, 2021).

  • All clubs should create a COVID-19 Return To Play Safety Plan.  The Plan should adhere to the minimum requirements of the Guidelines AND the minimum guidelines of your Local Public Health Agency. 

  • Clubs should document training and competition rosters for each club event for contact tracing purposes. The document should include the date of the event, the location of the event, the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of participants, and the following screening information: Temperature check, asking of symptoms, if the person has been in close physical contact within the last 14 days with anyone who is known to have COVID-19 or anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if the person is currently waiting on results for a PCR COVID-19 test. 

  • Clubs must cooperate with their Local Public Health Agency when contact tracing efforts are being made.

  • Athletes, coaches, administrators, or spectators with suspected or known COVID-19 exposures must stay at home and adhere to requirements for quarantine and/or isolation.

  • Coaches should prioritize extensive hygiene practices for player welfare. Examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • Actively discourage huddling, high fives, hugs, spitting, snot rockets, rubbing eyes, hand-licking, signing, chanting, shouting, etc.

  • Provide adequate time between drills or activities to clean equipment, if necessary

  • Encourage players to bring multiple masks to training so they can swap out sweaty ones for clean, dry ones and encourage them to wash them as soon as possible.

  • Spectators should only be allowed with the permission of your facility, the government in which your facility is located, and with enforcement that spectators wear masks and/or stay at least 6’ from members of other households. The Club is responsible for spectators on match days. It is recommended that the home team encourages safe spacing for spectators, and supplies masks and sanitizer during a match. 

  • In general, outdoor sports present less risk of infection compared to indoor sports. Please prioritize training outdoors whenever possible.

  • At training, scrimmages, and matches, clubs should make every effort to limit spectators and non-essential persons.

The insurance policies have an exclusion for communicable diseases and pandemic/epidemics, so while a broken leg would be covered, COVID itself is not.

As there have been more Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron Variant, the following changes have been made to the union’s COVID-19 health guidance related to quarantine and isolation requirements.  The changes are motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after, per the CDC.

Players/coaches/trainers (“Participants”) who have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status should get tested and should isolate themselves from others while waiting for a result. (If testing is not possible, follow the guidance below as if you are positive.)  A participant with symptoms should not play in training or a match until testing negative.

Participants who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, and:

           Do not have symptoms – should isolate yourself from others for 5 days, including training and matches.

           Have symptoms – should isolate from others until fever-free and symptoms are improving. You should isolate yourself for at least 5 days since your symptoms began.  You may return to play after a negative test.

Participants who are exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are:

Not vaccinated – stay away from others for 5 days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if you test negative, you may return to play.

Vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but not yet boosted – stay away from others for 5 days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if you test negative, you may return to play.

Vaccinated, and have received a booster – you do not need to stay away from others.

If any participant tests positive within 48 hours of a match, all other participants shall be informed.  Clubs are required to inform the opposing team and the match official(s) as well as the respective division director.

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