Revealed: Number of people needed to stage a rugby match behind closed doors

Loftus Versfeld (Gallo Images)
Loftus Versfeld (Gallo Images)

World Rugby has confirmed its return-to-play guidelines do not mean matches will necessarily have to be played in empty stadiums until a coronavirus vaccine is available.

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The guidelines were authored by World Rugby Chief Medical Officer and guideline co-author Dr Éanna Falvey, Dr Martin Raftery (World Rugby), Prav Mathema (Welsh Rugby Union), Prof Mary Horgan (consultant physician of infectious diseases) and supported by data collected through regional Covid-19 steering group chairs who consulted with World Rugby’s 124 national member unions.

According to the World Rugby website, the organisation stressed that the strategy may well differ from country to country and will be determined by the respective national government directives of national unions. 

The 29-page World Rugby guidelines are merely intended to assist unions, clubs and competitions in creating a framework and policy for return-to-rugby activity within their respective jurisdictions. 

Unions and competition owners will need to comply with local laws and policies implemented by government or local authorities in relation to Covid-19, including social distancing and travel measures.

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As of Friday, 1 May, South Africa is currently in lockdown Level 4, with no local flying or even cross-province driving - let alone international departures - permitted, making for any form of rugby impossible.

According to the current gazetted regulations, sporting activities are only permitted to resume on Level 1 while air travel kicks in at Level 2.

Quite when those levels are implemented, depends on who you choose to listen to.

It is entirely feasible and likely to happen in fact that South Africa's fellow Sanzaar nations, Australia and New Zealand in particular, will resume play sooner that their African partners with the restrictions in Australasia far closer to being lifted.

So how many people will be required for a televised rugby match to be played without crowds cheering from the stands, if that is indeed the first step back to normality?

World Rugby's guidelines suggest that number is ... 167

Home team players: 15

Visiting team players: 15

Home team substitutes and bench support: 11

Visiting team substitutes and bench support: 11

Home team travelling reserves: 3

Visiting team travelling reserves: 3

Home team roving doctor: 1

Visiting team roving doctor: 1

Home team roving physiotherapist: 1

Visiting team roving physiotherapist: 1

Home team technical box (water carriers): 2

Visiting team technical box (water carriers): 2

Home team coaches box: 5

Visiting team coaches box: 5

Match day doctor: 1

Immediate care lead: 1

Medical room video viewer: 1

Paramedics: 6

Other medical specialists: 2

Medical room video operator: 1

Security guards: 4

Referee: 1

Assistant referee: 2

Side-line referees, time keeper, statistics and communications: 7

Television match official: 1

Citing commissioner: 1

Ball team and ball team supervisor: 7

Match manager: 1

Match director: 1

Administration: 10

Broadcaster pitch-side crew (cameramen, line runners & floor manager): 20

Commentators: 6

Outside broadcasting van: 15

Stadium operations: 8

Big screen and PA announcer: 2

TOTAL: 167

READ | Springbok hooker Marx on repatriation flight stranded in Qatar

- Compiled by Garrin Lambley

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