Aberdeen Grammar have cancelled training for three weeks after one of the club’s players tested positive for coronavirus.
The Rubislaw men were preparing for the return of domestic rugby on October 31 before last week’s decision by Scottish Rugby to delay the campaign until January 31 at the earliest.
They have now been forced to stop training as a precaution after a player developed mild symptoms last weekend.
Head coach Ali O’Connor said: “The player came to training last Thursday and he started developing symptoms on Saturday and tested positive on Sunday.
“That has led to a mandatory two-to-three week shutdown for us.
“We had actually planned to do that anyway with the season being delayed.
“The good news is the player is feeling fine. He has mild symptoms and is recovering well.
“At this stage we have no other causes for concern.
“We were abiding by the protocols and rules and we have been going with the medical advice we have received.
“When we spoke to track and trace about the session they considered it to be low risk for the virus to spread to the other players.”
Grammar have not played a competitive game since March and O’Connor admits he is unsure if a regional league campaign will get under way at the start of the 2021 with Covid-19 cases rising across the country.
He said: “It might be a bonus if we are able to get going in January as there doesn’t seem to be an end to this in sight at the moment.
“We are 15 weeks away from the first game of the season as it stands and it is difficult to keep a bunch of guys ticking over until then with no game for that amount of time.”
Early indications at other clubs across the north and north-east suggest players are keen to continue training, despite there being no chance of a competitive game for at minimum of 15 weeks.
Highland head coach Dave Carson said: “It’s disappointing not to have any kind of game, but we have long term targets to meet, including getting to the Premiership.
“The players have bought into this and will be keen to keep up their fitness levels for next season. There is also the social element. Retaining good links with team members is very important.”
In the Caledonia leagues, Aberdeen Wanderers and Ellon were determined that the season would not be wasted, committing their squads to long-term development in Caley Division 1 which might lead to reaching the national leagues.
Ellon head coach Craig Parslow said: “This enforced break could be good for us. Player development is already going on at the club, based on a superbly-organised under-age set-up, which has been one of the great strengths of Ellon since the club was formed in 1978.”
Russell Arthur, director of rugby of Aberdeen Wanderers, has targets for the Groats Road side, including winning promotion to National League 3, but said: “Most of all we want to keep all players at whatever level fit and in touch with the club.
“Physical fitness is, however, only part of it. If they are able physically then there’s every chance their mental health will be good. There are maybe no games on the horizon, but there’s still a lot to be be played for this season.”