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'Everyone's itching to get back, but it's the importance of getting back and everything being safe and healthy'


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Ireland and Ulster scrum-half John Cooney. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland and Ulster scrum-half John Cooney. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ireland and Ulster scrum-half John Cooney. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland and Ulster scrum-half John Cooney has admitted that he and the majority of his fellow players are reluctant to return to action until it is safe to do so.

The IRFU is currently working towards an August 10 return, and although reports have suggested that a proposed busy schedule, including a potential Autumn Six Nations, has already been drawn up, Cooney revealed that the players have not yet been made aware of such developments.

An inter-pro series behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium is looking increasingly like the restart point for Irish rugby, as long as the Government continue to ease Covid-19 restrictions.

While Cooney would relish that eventuality, he insisted that rugby players, like many Premier League players, are wary of putting others in danger by returning to competitive sport.

"I think it's a bit similar," Cooney said. "The problem with rugby is it's an even bigger contact sport than, say, football. Obviously everyone is itching to get back playing, but it's the importance of getting back and everything being safe and healthy.

"It's not really us who it's going to affect. It's going to affect people worse off, so it's whether you have interaction with elderly people or people who are vulnerable. It's important we look out for them.

"So whenever it's deemed fit, we are going to be back and I think everyone understands that."

Irish Independent