Rugby

Lockdown rugby head shave raises more than £13,000 for NHS

THE Plymouth rugby community have now raised more than £13,000 for the NHS with a lockdown head shave.

Devonport Services started the ball rolling last week with the intention of raising £200 for the NHS Charities Together fund.

But the fundraising scheme took off incredibly and they raised £1,000 in 24 hours and the total has just kept going up.

Services have now handed the baton on to other clubs and Plymstock Albion Oaks, Saltash and Plympton Victoria are among the latest Plymouth clubs to join in.

“I think we had about 50 do it at our club, including a few of the colts and younger age groups,” said Plymstock player-coach Aiden Taylor.

“It is excellent and the money we have raised is unbelievable. It just keeps going up and up and hopefully we can get to the next milestone.

“I think a new club gets invited to join in every day.”

Plym Vic are today’s club and information on how to donate can be found HERE. 

Meanwhile, the sudden end of the 2019-20 rugby season was particularly frustrating for Oaks.

They were pushing for promotion out of the Cornwall/Devon League and had reached the final of the Lockie Cup when all rugby activities were ended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“All the lads are a bit gutted about it,” said Taylor. “We felt we had some real momentum after beating Truro and we thought we were going to push on.

“I could not see us losing for the rest of the season. We had everyone back fit and available and we were looking really strong going into the last six games.

“It is frustrating, but some things are bigger than rugby.”

Oaks were in fourth place in the Cornwall/Devon League when rugby stopped but had they won their games in hand they could have been in second spot, which is a promotion place.

The RFU have yet to decide on what they are going to do with the 2019-20 season. A decision is set to be made it mid-April.

“Personally, I think everyone should just stay the same – no relegation, no promotion – I think that’s the fairest way to do it – just void the season and let everyone start again,” said Taylor.

“But I suppose what happens if Lanner say they have enough players now? The same with St Ives, they want to start in the league again.

“I wouldn’t want to be making the decision. I’m sure there will be a backlash whatever happens.

“And it is going to be interesting for pre-season next year as we don’t know how long this is going to last. You might have to go into a league campaign without a pre-season under your belt.”

The RFU are planning to restructure the leagues in 2021 anyway, with smaller more regional divisions, but Taylor does not think that is needed.

“I just think they should leave the leagues as they are,” said Taylor. “I don’t think they should restructure. I don’t think there is a need as I think it is working fine.”

If Oaks stay at the same level then they are likely to lose two or three players to higher league clubs but are already building for next season. They are hoping to make a couple of new signings soon and plan to announce a new-look coaching set-up shortly.

“There’s going to be a shake-up at the top in the coaches,” said Taylor. “I am still going to be involved in it, but we are going to be a bigger coaching set-up which will benefit the team.”

He added: “The plan is to keep most of the squad together.

“Most of the lads I have spoken to are gutted about this season but think we can definitely go up next year.”

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