Return of recreational rugby moves closer but full restart still someway off
- Credit: Archant
Non-contract training and intra-club matches can now take place following an update to England Rugby’s Return to Community Rugby Roadmap
The updated map now shows a move from Stage B to Stage C but there are still a further three steps to go before a return to full contact matches is allowed.
In a statement, England Rugby said: “Following the government’s publication of a framework for return to recreational team sport, we have been working to accelerate the safe return of community rugby.
“We can confirm that our action plan to commence a safe and phased return to grassroots rugby activity has been approved by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (‘DCMS’).
“The rugby community is now able to recommence some larger group rugby activity, initially non-contact, subject to adherence with RFU guidance.
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“Any return is a decision for individual clubs to make and they must continue to follow government Covid-19 guidelines, along with any local government lockdown restrictions that may be introduced.”
“In developing the action plan, the RFU was required to undertake a detailed assessment of exposure risk through face to face contact across both contact and non-contact rugby.
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“Unsurprisingly, the assessment highlighted a significantly increased risk in playing full-contact rugby and hence any form of contact rugby is still not permitted. We will continue to explore and analyse adaptations to the key high-risk face to face contact areas and seek to identify safe and appropriate ways to bring these back.
“We will continue to explore and analyse adaptations to the key high risk face to face contact areas and seek to identify safe and appropriate ways to bring these back, initially into training, and subsequently potentially into match play.”
Up until now, clubs had been limited to small group training with a maximum of six players. There was to be no face to face or close contact and equipment sharing was kept to a minimum.
The updated rules mean that clubs can now play Ready4Rugby which is a non-contact game consisting of two teams of up to 10 players within the same squad.
The next stage on the roadmap would see contact training introduced as well as non-contact fixtures between clubs allowed.