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"The only thing you can do is testing and lots of it" - Mike Ross on rugby's return


Former Ireland prop Mike Ross says he wouldn't be comfortable playing rugby during the current COVID-19 pandemic and he feels testing of players will be crucial if the sport is to resume this season. 

The two-time Heineken Cup winner with Leinster told today's Off The Ball that it's impossible to maintain social distancing on a rugby pitch.

"I would say it's not possible," Ross said when asked if he'd be comfortable taking to the field by John Duggan. "Rugby is a contact sport so you're going to have to contact, especially in scrums. You had scrum poxes around before COVID-19!

"The only thing you can do is testing and lots of it. I don't know how that would be perceived politically if you're testing privileged rugby players but I think that's the only way around it.

"Rugby players are probably in the demographic where they're probably low risk should they catch it but ultimately but if you want to play a game...you're going to have to have testing."

While Munster legend Alan Quinlan says he would have been willing to take the risk to play during his career and he's hoping the return of the Bundesliga will pave the way for other professional leagues returning.

"For me, I'd play" the ex flanker said. "It's impossible to adhere to social distancing so if rugby is to return it just has to be a testing scenario and that template is in place this weekend in the Bundesliga.

"If that's successful then perhaps it can provide a template for rugby to test, perhaps isolate players for a few days before games and also test them again after matches. I'd be optimistic that rugby will be back before we have a vaccine...it'll probably be behind closed doors rugby and tha'ts what I'm hearing the plan is and that's what people want to try and do.

"You may have some resistance from some players, you've asked the question as to whether I would play and I would but I'd like to know that there's testing in place and a plan and structure around it. Nobody wants to cause issues here or cause difficulties to anyone else's health by being a carrier.

"And that's the big problem, if you play and you're asymptomatic and then go on to infect other people in the community and that's the big issue but it'll be very interesting to see how the Bundesliga goes."

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