Clean bill of health for Munster and Leinster players

Dr. Rod McLoughlin - Medical Director IRFU. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Munster and Leinster have been given the greenlight to return to training on Monday by IRFU medics.

140 players, coaches and staff underwent tests for coronavirus last week with medics today reporting 'zero positive results'.

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing was carried out by Cork based company Advanced Medical Services on behalf of the IRFU.

The news means that personnel from the provinces have been cleared to access their respective High Performance Centres at UL and UCD.

However there will be significant changes awaiting players from their last training session in March before lockdown restrictions were introduced.

On arrival at the facility each player will be requested to complete a daily questionnaire and will also have their temperature taken via a DAMOC Thermo Check which boasts in-built facial recognition and Wi-Fi capability that allows it to be managed remotely. 

The device will provide a body temperature reading within two seconds and will immediately flag high readings.

IRFU Medical Director, Dr Rod McLoughlin, explained: "The temperature check is just one of the protocols that must be undergone upon entry so this technology will help streamline the entry process to the HPCs and reduce the number of close contacts of staff. Anyone with an adverse temperature reading will not be permitted to enter the HPC and will be stood down to undergo further medical screening."

Dr McLoughlin explained that players tested last week also received "COVID19 education from our medical staff as well as education on the new protocols that have been put in place at each HPC to create a controlled working environment that greatly limits the risk of infection."

Players will work in pods of seven- to one coach - and will not have interaction with any of the other players for the first week or two. 

Shower facilities and other shared areas will also be off limits while equipment will be disinfected on a regular basis.

The second phase of PCR testing will commence with players and staff from Connacht and Ulster this coming week.

All four provinces will return to action at the Aviva Stadium on either 22 or 23 August as the Guinness PRO14 resumes behind closed doors.