Clubs to be briefed on revised Return to Rugby roadmap on Wednesday night

31st October target date for season start is now unrealistic and it looks likely that there will be no league matches until January

GHA's Aaron Pruewal in action against Hawick last season. Image: Colin Robinson
GHA's Aaron Pruewal in action against Hawick last season. Image: Colin Robinson

CLUBS should find out on Wednesday night if the 31st October restart date for competitive club rugby is still on the table, but it is now almost a foregone conclusion that there will be a postponement, with a January target looking like the most likely scenario. 

This is an outcome of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announcing on Thursday that the Scottish Government has delayed Phase 4 of easing the COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland until 15th October at the earliest, which meant Scottish Rugby has had to delay the implementation of Stage 5 of its Return to Rugby roadmap.

Scottish Rugby’s Rugby Development department met to discuss the matter earlier today [Friday] and will give recommendations to the Scottish Rugby Council on Monday, when it is anticipated that they will agree to postponing the 31st October target date. The Board will then be consulted on the new timeframe, before an update with an indicative season start date is communicated to clubs via a webinar at 7pm on Wednesday 7th October. This will apply to all domestic rugby clubs in Scotland, including Super6 franchises. 

The RFU in England announced last week that all league rugby below Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s level had been suspended until January. The Welsh Rugby Union is yet to announce an official return date for their club game but is understood to have adopted a similar policy.

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2133 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


    • What’s you point? A virus that is easily transmitted has been transmitted? It’s hardly man bites dog? The issue is how many people are getting seriously ill from the virus now and the answer is very very few. It’s below seasonal deaths across Europe. That’s the data. You might better have led with link to the 6000 people about to lose their jobs at Cineworld add the cultural impact of that. The short term self interest of some will be judged on the cold light of spring 2021.

  1. Dom football isn’t really that different no 30 odd men all together running, aspirating, spitting, sweating and hugging shouting pushing shoving, The only difference is the moments of the Scrum. As of today amateur Rugby is being played in France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and many more. People will catch Covid and will be track traced and some fixtures will not be fulfilled. Either all of Europe have this wrong or Boris and Niciola do. As yet SRU have not ruled out October and they may do but hopefully not,

    Reason I joked it would “please” you is because at every stage of relaxation you have objected – every time. That is your right just was it is mine to call it out. If that makes me a “piece of work” then maybe that piece of work is a nice photo of sport in action or an uplifting tune of positivity blasting out in a changing room. My older son came in from some allowed rugby contact training “7s” today at his school and said afterwards that he has not seen everyone young men and staff alike so happy all of them for months and months. This release of full muddy full action competition released such endorphins took away anxiety got the blood pumping and uplifted spirits, He came hime and stayed distant from his 77 year old Granny who lives downstairs. In the end we either suspend all sport all social life for at least another 12 months or we trust in the medicine and data which is what all of Europe are doing. Why are we different>? All best. Ed Crick

    • Thankfully what you and I think should happen is neither here nor there. It will be for the Scottish Government to decide

      I must watch a different version of football to you if you think the games are the same in terms of contact time. Scrums alone account for approx 15 minutes of contact time. Add in mauls and rucks and that’s a pretty heavy portion of time.

      No one is happy about the current state of affairs. We would, I expect, all dearly wish to get the game back up and running as soon as possible.

      Obviously all the sports team examples that are currently showing up demonstrate there is a broader issue. It’s not just the sportsperson – it’s all the people they interact with. The impact of a positive case in a rugby match would have far reaching consequences. Leitch explained it all on Radio Scotland today. They take you back over the last 3-4 days. Who have you interacted with? Where have you been? Potentially that’s 30 guys who could face self isolation. It impacts any workplace, bar, restaurant they’ve been too. It affects their family

      Until we move out of Phase 3 we aren’t stepping up contact activity. Here’s hoping we see rapid reductions in case numbers by the 15 Oct so we can get the show back on the road. Possible? of course. Likely? Not so much

  2. Dom – to be pedantic, COVID is the disease, SARS-COV-2 is the virus. The article you linked to says all players are well, therefore don’t technically have COVID. General fitness does seem to provide protection against developing COVID.

  3. Ed you really are a piece of work.

    Nothing “pleases” me about rugby being postponed to January.

    You might have noticed that Kilmarnock FC have had their whole squad in self isolation after positive test results. And East Stirling are similarly affected.

    Given Premier football have a testing regime in place that makes things really tough for non tested teams.

    As I’ve said previously. Go and have a word Nicola Sturgeon and Jason Leitch on your thoughts. I think the conversation will be quite short

    • Sorry if my quip offended. It was meant lighthearted. To be clear It’s ALL amateur footy that’s being played. I still think October is on but only off we like the rest of Europe accept this is not wildly deadly and that it is endemic and we must live therefore live with All best.

  4. Whilst this will please Dom Ward 😉 it is worth acknowledging that amateur rugby is being played in France, Germany, Italy Australia and NZ and others. Just because RFU have 350k players and two semi pro leagues that can’t operate without fans doesn’t mean we have to follow them? Good to hear government recognise the mental and physical benefit of sport (and football is being played and please do not kid on that it is so much less full of aspirating close contact) as in the end if the if track & traced the benefit is surely equally to or greater than the risk. A January start will mean no Rugby at all as pitches will be swamps off and on until March.

    • If no rugby til January then pitches will be fine and they will not be muddy nxt year.


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