The club had to find creative ways to prepare for the annual tournament to get around the closure of gyms on Wits campuses.
FNB Wits Rugby are training off campus for the Varsity Cup due to the implementation of a secure bio-bubble, while the closure of Wits gyms means that their preparations in-between fixtures require special permissions.
Wits Sport senior manager operations Kabungo Mubanga, told Wits Vuvuzela that the team is currently preparing for matches at the University of Pretoria where the players undergo regular covid-19 testing and have limited contact with those outside of the Varsity Cup bubble.
During prolonged breaks between fixtures, the players return to campus, however, proposals and risk assessment plans had to be submitted in order for them to gain access to the high-performance gymnasium on Education Campus, Mubanga added.
In a statement released on social media on March 23, Wits Sport said gyms would remain closed “until further notice” due to the university’s covid-19 restrictions. This is despite the government allowing gyms to open with limited capacity during level one lockdown regulations.
“The external management company that managed the Wits Fitness and Wellness Centre had to close down due to their core business and income being dependent on student feet on campus,” said strength and conditioning coach, Jacques Durand, who called the situation “a real tragedy”.
He added that Wits Sport was “in the process of getting a new management company in place so that the prestigious facility can get students back into gyms”.
While campus gyms remain closed, Wits Sport is encouraging students to take their online fitness challenge. This ensures they keep fit while staying indoors and features an array of activities in a weekly planner with a scoring system to keep track of progress.
Music honours student, Teballo Tlhagale (21), said that working out from home is a decent alternative, however, he feels that since the government has allowed gyms to open, it does not make sense for the university gyms to remain closed. He added that he prefers “more structure when it comes to working out” and misses knowing that when he walks into a fitness class “the instructor has that covered”.
With the Varsity Cup kicking off on Sunday, April 4, the rugby team had the challenge of changing their training methods for their preparation for the annual tournament this year.
“We had to be creative to make sure that we could still physically prepare athletes for the competition. We know that all the challenges we face, our competitors will also have to go through,” Durand said.
FNB Wits lost 48-25 to UP-Tuks in their opening game at Tuks Stadium. Their next match is against FNB UCT Ikeys at Loftus Versveld Stadium on April 8 at 17:00.
FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Rugby had to submit proposals and risk assessment plans to gain access to the high-performance gym on campus. Photo: File