Today we can confirm that the action plan to commence a safe and phased return to grassroots rugby activity has been approved by the Government and therefore we have moved to Stage C on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.
The rugby community is now able to recommence some larger group rugby activity, initially non-contact, subject to adherence with RFU guidance.
Any return is a decision for individual clubs to make and they must continue to follow government Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidelines, along with any local government lockdown restrictions that may be introduced.
The return will initially be through non-contact rugby focused on Ready4Rugby, a non-contact game, enabling two teams of up to 10 players to engage in training and match activity in their own club environment. Subject to satisfactory operation through August we hope to then be able to move to inter-club Ready4Rugby in September. Other Touch Rugby activity (including O2 Touch centres) will also be able to recommence.
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. 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, initially into training, and subsequently potentially into match play. This will be subject to further government approval and a further statement on this will be made should we reach this point.