The roadmap for a return to rugby in England has been announced, with Schools set to be able to start resuming internal non-contact rugby from Monday.
There have been plenty of false dawns on the return to rugby, and indeed life, but with a long term government plan and a vaccine that seems to be having an effect, there is real hope that this is a genuine return to play.
For schools the return is advanced a little, in line with government guidelines, the rest of the game must wait until the 29thMarch but schools can return to internal non-contact from Monday, as well as contact training.
The headlines for school rugby are:
Monday 8th March – Stage D1 (see image) guidance applies (internally).
Monday 31st May – Season end
After 31st May – Usual end of season regulation suspended. Range of non-contact & contact opportunities available.
1st January 2022 – 17 year olds permitted again to, where permitted, play adult rugby again.
2021/22 Season – Age-grade rules to not step up until January 1st (usually 31st August), i.e. U10s play U9 regs until 1stJanuary, then U10 regs.
In terms of the headlines for the game, they are as follows (all dates are earliest possible):
8th March – Stage A: Adult exercise only alone or with one other (schools may train & play non-contact internally)
29th March – Stage D1: Contact training (excluding scrum & maul), Read4Rugby O2 touch, Tag Rugby, & non-contact matches allowed
26th April – Stage D2: Contact training (excl scrum & maul), Contact matches with adapted laws, no scrum or maul.
17th May – Stage E1 (likely): Full contact training
31st May (or 2 weeks after E1) – Stage E2 (likely): Full Contact matches. Off field restrictions likely.
21st June – Stage F (likely): All restricions lifted.
2021/22 Season – Normal!