Super Rugby sides stick to training schedules in hazy conditions

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia’s Super Rugby teams are opting to train through hazardous air quality as bushfires rage across the Eastern Seaboard.

Air quality in Sydney and Canberra has been at hazardous or unhealthy levels in recent weeks and that is expected to continue on Tuesday as a series of fires continue to rage.

Fine particles in the smoky air can pose a danger to those undertaking physical activity, including itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation or shortness of breath, that can go on for days.

Football’s A-League and W-League were last week considering postponing matches with the poor air quality on NSW’s Central Coast and in the Hunter Valley.

Cricket ACT were reportedly considering cancelling a T20 World Cup warm- up match, while the AFL postponed or cancelled various social fixtures scheduled for Monday due to the air.

Canberra's professional sporting franchises, including the Brumbies and their football and rugby league counterparts have stuck to their training schedules. 

The Waratahs' Daceyville training base is near by the Australian Golf Club where the recent Australian Open was played, with officials sporting face masks to deal with the air quality.

NSW has also stayed to their training schedule but are encouraging players, particularly those with a history of asthma, to report any symptoms.

Brumbies lock Blake Enever said on Monday that they could definitely feel the smokiness of the air but it had had little impact on their preseason training.

“I think there's a bit of smoke here, probably nothing compared to elsewhere but it does add a little bit to it,” he said.

“The only other thing is probably the heat, a couple of weeks ago we had to do an afternoon session in the morning to avoid that heat.

“Thankfully the smoke and fires hasn't really affected anything here, I know it's affecting a lot of other places in Australia at the moment.

“So we're pretty grateful and trying to get a bit of work done at the moment the best way we can.”

The bushfires haven’t been far from the Brumbies’ minds with a number of players visiting the Queanbeyan Rural Fire Service to show support for the hardworking staff and volunteers battling the ongoing blazes.

Second rower Enever certainly will be glad to stick to a tough preseason training schedule as he looks to put his claim on a starting lock spot after the departure of Sam Carter (Ulster) and Rory Arnold (Toulouse).

"There is an opportunity this year so I'm definitely going to try and take it with both hands and work hard now and really put my hand up for round one," he said.

The Brumbies take on the Reds at GIO Stadium in their 2020 Super Rugby opener on Friday January 31.