Relief for our rugby clubs as contact game gets green light

The RFU, English rugby’s governing body, confirmed that clubs in England can take part in an adapted version of the full...

The RFU, English rugby’s governing body, confirmed that clubs in England can take part in an adapted version of the full 15-a-side game after restrictions were lifted. Picture: UNSPLASH - Credit: Archant

Their last games were back in March but finally rugby clubs across England can see a return to some sort of competitive action.

The announcement from the government last week (w/c NOV 30) gave the green light for outdoor team sport to resume and the RFU confirmed the lifting of some restrictions would mean an adapted version of the full 15-a-side game could now be played.

They said: “We are delighted to confirm that the government has approved our submission to return to 15-a-side contact rugby, with some adaptations.

“This comes after extensive research and consultations with government into mitigating the risks of close contact.

“By using law variations, this will limit the risk of prolonged face-to-face contact, allowing the community game to resume.

“There will be no scrums or mauls in the game and where the game would restart with a scrum, this will be replaced with a free-kick. This cannot be taken quickly.

“There will also be a minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a line-out.”

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The immediate instructions to clubs is that they can resume adapted training for 15-a-side contact rugby again with friendly fixtures allowed to start on and after Friday, December 18.

This is to allow players to prepare properly and safely after going a month without organised training during the government’s restrictions.

The RFU also added that if any clubs have Ready4Rugby matches planned between now and December 18, then they can still fulfil those fixtures. There is no obligation to play the adapted 15-a-side contact matches.

RFU rugby development director Steve Grainger added: “In recent months, we have received growing support from clubs and players in favour of adaptations, with law variations preferable to the option of no rugby at all.

“This is wonderful news for community clubs, volunteers, players and supporters around the country, who can now look forward to playing contact rugby for the first time since March.

“We now need to be as safe as we possibly can be and comply with all off-field social distancing and guidance to ensure we can continue our phased return to full-contact rugby.”