No community rugby to be played until next year

All local forms of rugby union have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Local rugby pitches will remain empty until January at the earliest
Local rugby pitches will remain empty until January at the earliest

Community rugby has been put on hold until the new year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RFU have confirmed that, with the exception of the Premiership, Champions and Premier 15s rugby, no organised RFU or non-RFU leagues, including merit tables, adult or age grade competitions will be played before January at the earliest.

The announcement has come following the additional restrictions put in place by the Government this week to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases across the country and the RFU said the decision has been made so they “can provide clubs with some certainty over the next few months”.

The rugby community can continue to organise non-contact fixtures with other clubs using Ready4Rugby and other touch rugby activity while limited and restricted contact rugby training can also be continued.

The RFU confirmed they remain in “active dialogue” with the government about moving to Stage E on their Roadmap and, should that point be reached before Christmas, competitive friendly matches could commence.

The Adult and Age Grade Competitions Groups will be making recommendations to Governance on what they can do to ensure that any competitions from January are meaningful, including whether to make changes to the structured season.

Governance also agreed that any decision to suspend promotion and relegation for the 2020/21 season would be referred to Council once the nature of the competitions is known.

RFU president Jeff Blackett said: “We are very keen to see competitive rugby being played again.

“However, given the introduction of further restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases, we will not be able to move to Stage F on the Roadmap until a later date.

“This announcement gives clubs clarity over the immediate term to help them with their planning.

“We will continue to liaise with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Public Health England to accelerate a return to competitive play as soon as it is safe to do so.”