Brasil Rugby League will take an extraordinary step in efforts to ramp up preparation for Rugby League World Cup 2021, rapidly organising a 9-day expenses-paid secure bubble to stave off disruptions to their calendar.
After successfully hosting COVID-free events in December and February which drew record player interest, Brasil as a nation has been hit hard by a further wave of COVID, with thousands dying each day.
While no cases resulted from participation in Brasil Rugby League events, the latest wave has meant the semi-finals and finals of the women’s national championship have been rescheduled three times, with concerns over hospital capacity, travel and public infection.
The men’s season and nine-a-side events have also been postponed to the latter half of the year.
After consultation with member clubs and a player leadership group, Brasil has taken a bold step to house the four female semi-final teams in a rural location, with their lodgment and food taken care of for nine days.
Between the semi-final on May 1 and final on May 9, all players will benefit from a week’s intensive training from national head coach Paul Grundy, a Level 3-accredited mentor in the NRL system.
At the completion of the matches, a reduced squad will be announced to build towards the World Cup in England in November.
Brasil Rugby League Chief Operating Officer Hugo Froes thanked the clubs and players for their responsiveness and flexibility in the face of extreme circumstance.
“For the majority of players to have to take a week away from work at such short notice is an extremely admirable sacrifice on their behalf,” said Froes.