By Tom Primmer
The University of Queensland rugby club has bounced back from the adverse effects of COVID-19 and is beginning to see the silver linings of the pandemic.
The clubs’ premier grade team was engulfed in the health crisis when they played against an infected player in the Australian club championships in March, before the Queensland Premier Rugby season was cancelled weeks later.
UQ Director of Rugby Elton Berrange said the entire Uni community made an effort to come together and support each other in what was a time of great uncertainty.
“We had to recognise that guys and girls were being affected in all areas of their lives, it wasn’t just footy,” Berrange said.
“As important as footy is, when people are losing jobs and Job Keeper hadn’t been announced yet, it was just making sure we got around and supported as many people as we could.”
A shortened season was reintroduced in August, and the Heavies have since picked up where they left off in 2019.
The defending premiers lead the competition and have lost just one game thus far, with the club’s playing stocks bolstered by the return of a number of professional stars.
Former Australian Sevens representative Con Foley was playing in the United States when the pandemic hit and was forced to return home and play for the Heavies for the remainder of the year.
“I love playing at Uni so it was a bit of a no brainer to come back and play,” Foley said.
“There’s always the same sort of blokes milling around the club because it means a lot to a lot of people.”
With one round of the regular season remaining, UQ are aiming to secure this year’s minor premiership and become the first team since Canberra in 2003 to win back to back premierships.