On Friday it was announced that schools are now able to start limited and restricted contact rugby training and can organise non-contact fixtures as rugby in England moves from Stage C to Stage D on the RFU’s Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.
The Roadmap finishes with Stage F, which means a full return to play, and with this move from C to D, a return to play feels much closer.
The move has been approved by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, and means that in small groups of no more than six players, teams will be able to return to practicing tackling, lineouts, and rucking, however mauls, scrums, lineouts with opposition, and upright tackling are still not allowed. A session can last a maximum of 75 minutes, while contact activities are restricted to 15 minutes at a time. For the remainder of a session, players are permitted to take part in strength and conditioning work, non-contact drills, touch, and Ready4Rugby.
Probably the most exciting development in moving to Stage D, though, is that teams will be able to organise non-contact fixtures against teams outside of their school/club. The prospect of which has certainly excited those that have got in touch with us as the idea of genuine competition takes hold.
For full details of what is and is not permissible in Stage D, follow this link: Stage D Return to Rugby Guidelines.
Speaking on www.englandrugby.com RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said:
“It’s great news for the game that we’re able to get back to contact training in the community game with some limitations. It’s another step on the journey to a return to full contact rugby although we still have a way to go before we will return to our full programme of competition.”
“Although there is no confirmed timeline for the return of full-contact competitive match play, we will provide an update to the game about competitions as planned on 1 September.”
That update should follow in line with the previous statements from the RFU on the return of school competitions, which split the return into three windows:
Playing Window 1: Rugby returns by 13th September, competitions run as usual, season ends on Monday 3rdMay.
Playing Window 2: Rugby returns between 14th September and 18th October, competitions run but rescheduled to fit the tighter window, season ends Monday 31st May.
Playing Window 3: Rugby returns after 18th October, competitions are cancelled, season ends on Monday 31st May.