05 January 2021

Harlequins star Kristine Sommer questions if Premier 15s will introduce testing as new lockdown begins

Harlequins player Kristine Sommer has urged the Premier 15s to introduce testing in the league as the new lockdown restrictions come into force in England.

Since the league returned in October the governing body, the Rugby Football Union, has not provided testing for players and instead have implemented different rules in the game to limit contact to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. Game time has been reduced, there are less scrums and training follows strict guidelines.

Sommer wrote on Twitter: "Here’s a question - do we think Women’s Premiership will bring in testing to keep players safety up? Asking for myself and all current women’s players. #lockdown #tier5

“Follow up - I’ll say it 100000 times how grateful I am to play rugby in the UK, but when is player safety a concern? No real bubbles - no testing. This should be discussed, right? #lockdown #tier5”

A fan replied: “Whilst I appreciate that the men’s Premiership receives a good deal more funding than the women’s premiership, you cannot put a price on player welfare, in any context, and if  regular testing is considered essential for the men why not the women?”

US international Sommer pointed out as women’s players aren’t full-time professionals, bubbles aren’t possible as they need to work another job alongside their rugby.

She said: "If testing and proper bubbles are a requirement for elite sport to continue - fine, but that isn't existent in the women's game. We have small scale contracts which do not allow for isolated bubbles without working a secondary or tertiary job to maintain.

“At least testing would allow for identifying positive cases of asymptotic athletes. To be honest, we have 'elite' status, but in the case of the definition of 'elite' and 'professional', we're technically amateur.”

Outbreaks have happened across the league in clubs such as Saracens, DMP Durham Sharks and Sale Sharks. This has resulted in games being postponed.

Sommer’s Quins have had their match against Saracens rescheduled twice due to cases at both clubs. A new date for the fixture is yet to be confirmed.

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