OXFORDSHIRE’S clubs are calling on their communities to look after each other during the coronavirus crisis.

With all rugby activity on hold until April 14 at the earliest, players at the top of the game are filling their time with personalised fitness programmes to ensure they are in prime condition when training eventually restarts.

But for many further down the pyramid, sport lies near the bottom of their priorities.

Players, staff and volunteers will be nervously waiting to see how the pandemic affects their families and employment situation.

Craig Burrows, head coach of Southern Counties South high-fliers Grove, is well aware that the safety of loved ones is paramount for players.

He said: “Everyone’s circumstances are different, depending on their jobs, families, whether they’ve got older parents or younger children.

“We’ve told them to try to keep fit if it’s safe to do so, but obviously the most important thing is staying healthy.

“At this moment in time, rugby is the last thing on the minds of players at this level.”

Like many clubs, Grove expect to feel the financial strain of missing out on matchday revenue while the suspension continues.

But Burrows is confident that once rugby returns, the village will rally around the club.

He said: “I hope we can do things to try to recover the losses when we’ve got through this.

“I’m sure everyone will pull together to make that happen.

“We’re a big part of the community and it’s in everyone’s interest to help us get back on our feet.”

Henley Hawks have already implemented an action plan to help those in need.

The club’s cafe at their Dry Leas ground is running a takeaway service while social distancing measures are in place.

Director of playing administration Aubrey Doran explained it would help keep costs down and provide a service to people self-isolating.

He said: “With a lot of people in their homes we can run it with quite a small number of staff.”

It is a similar message from Bicester, whose youth festival finished last Sunday – barely 24 hours before the Rugby Football Union (RFU) called a halt to all levels of the game.

The club were named England Rugby’s Quilter Kids First champions for February after improving their younger teams.

Coaches of each age group are keeping in touch with players and parents while the situation unfolds and director Craig Morley is keen to maintain a dialogue.

He said: “For seniors and our younger players alike, our advice is: stay active as much as possible, try to maintain fitness, and reach out to those in need in our community.

“We are a community club, and at its heart that means being good citizens, demonstrating rugby values and taking care of others.

“This is important for everyone in our community at times like this.”

Robert Fisk, chairman of Southern Counties North rivals Witney, added: “The advice is to stay safe and look after your family, as rugby is at this level not nearly as important as family and others.”