On Friday evening the RFU confirmed that rugby in England has moved from Stage B to Stage C on the Return to Rugby roadmap.
There are six stages on the roadmap, with Stage F being a return to normal play, so we are still some way from competitive rugby as we know it taking place, however each step on that path feels like a game changer.
Now at Stage C, schools and clubs can now partake in some larger non-contact group activity. The RFU have created a new game called Ready4Rugby, a non-contact game for two teams of up to ten players, however other touch rugby activity is also allowed so the sort of games of touch that many are so familiar with through regular training are allowed.
Naturally the return to action is subject to clubs, schools, and organisations following government guidance and the RFU’s own guidance on safely proceeding to Stage C, but the idea of being able to take part in a competitive game, albeit touch, will have players up and down the country having a real spring in their step.
Matches against other schools and clubs are not permitted until Stage D, however intra-club games of Touch Rugby or Ready4Rugby are allowed under the Stage C guidance.
Slowly but surely, the return to play is coming. However naturally full-contact rugby is going to be one of the very last sports to return at a community level.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger spoke about Ready4Rugby and this next step in moving towards a return to rugby, saying:
“It’s great that we’ve been able to secure the green light to recommence some rugby activity. Ready4Rugby provides a great opportunity for the rugby community to recommence training with larger group sizes and begin to reintroduce matches. We thank government for their support over the last few months to help get us to this position.”
“We know that players are eager to get back to playing team rugby and whilst we recognise that there will be some disappointment that the 15-a-side contact game cannot yet return, player welfare and safety is paramount and we must continue to manage risk appropriately. The reaction of our community clubs over the last few months has been amazing, with many doing incredible work in their local communities. We are now delighted that they will be able to put some effort back into getting rugby activity underway.”
“We are sure this news will also be welcomed by schools, colleges and universities. We will continue to work with the education sector to ensure all rugby playing institutions are as prepared as they can be for the new academic year.”
To see how Ready4Rugby works, have a look at the photo graphics below: