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The Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) has announced a return to training for all sides, effective Monday 15th June 2020. The return will be under strict guidelines from the VRL to ensure policies in place by the Vanuatu Government, including social-distancing, are adhered to during this time. The VRL is also hopeful of returning to competitions within the next month, subject to expected easing of restrictions and consultations with the appropriate authorities.

Acting VRL President Antonio Korikalo commented “We’ve certainly taken a cautious approach to our return to training, which was important to us being the fast, entertaining and high impact contact sport that we are. We see ourselves as a socially responsible organisation that positively contributes to Ni-Vanuatu society and working within the Vanuatu Government guidelines and being responsible citizens was essential in this time to protect our island nation. We’re very fortunate to remain COVID free and we’ll now work with the relevant stakeholders in Vanuatu to firstly return to training next week and then to start our 2020 competitions for women, men and juniors when it is safe to do so.”

The VRL has informed all clubs of the return to training date and has called a meeting to discuss with all clubs. The VRL has also put together a resource pack to assist them return to training, including sessions that can be undertaken that adhere to the guidelines.

VRL Secretary-General So’o Motuliki added “We’ve called a meeting with one of our most important stakeholders, the clubs, for this week. The purpose will be two-fold, firstly to inform them of our return to training plans and the guidelines we have put in place but also to consult with them on our return to play plans. We need to ensure they are part of the process and we take on their advice to ensure they can safely return to training under the new guidelines but also have enough preparation time to safely resume playing where we are not putting any of our athletes at increased risk.”

The VRL has been supported in their return to play with resources and advice from the International Rugby League (IRL), Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC), National Rugby League (NRL) and the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL). The Board of the VRL would like to pass on our thanks to all those organisations and particularly Jeremy Edwards, Michael Asensio and David Nissan for their valued and appreciated support of the VRL to allow us to return to training and a plan to return to competition as well.