After nine long months rugby in England is returning, and returning soon!
It’ll be different, scums and mauls have temporarily been removed from the game, but it will be contact rugby and it will be competitive, and it will be a blessed relief to so many across the community game.
As of today (Wednesday 2nd December) 15-a-side contact rugby adapted training can resume. As of Friday 18th December friendly fixtures under the new laws can take place.
Such fixtures will see no scrums or mauls, where the game would restart with a scrum it will instead restart with a free kick (which cannot be taken quickly). At the lineout there must be a minimum of five and a maximum of seven players and the two sides must be evenly matched for numbers, a maul cannot be formed.
For full details on the Law Variations, please follow this link: RFU Covid Adapted Law Variations.
It moves the community game on to Stage E on the RFU’s Return to Community Rugby Roadmap (see below), one stage away from a full return to competitive rugby. The adapted Stage E laws have been approved for both U14-U18 and U7-U13.
Obviously there are still some areas to be worked out with regard to inter-schools matches, in terms of travel between tiers and such like, however these are likely to be worked out soon and with schools likely not to be able to arrange fixtures until after the Christmas holidays anyway, there is plenty of time for these areas to be worked out.
The crucial fact is that contact rugby and fixtures are to be permissible, how to do it will come soon.