THE RFU Governance Committee has ruled that there will be no competitive rugby in England – with the exception of Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s – before January 2021 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby continues to target a return of competitive rugby (playing in a specially created regional format) on 31st October. While recent Scottish Government guidance has not explicitly ruled this out, the tightening of Covid restrictions earlier this week has raised concerns that it is becoming an increasingly unrealistic target.
Scotland and England are, of course, separate jurisdictions, but clubs north of the Border anxious about what the future holds will view this latest development in the South as an ominous sign.
“The RFU Governance Committee have made the difficult decision that, with the exception of Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s rugby, no organised RFU or non-RFU Leagues including merit tables, adult or age grade competitions will be played before January 2021 at the earliest,” said a statement issued by Twickenham earlier this [Thursday] evening.
“With the increased uncertainly caused by Government’s additional restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases across the country, the decision has been made so that we can provide clubs with some certainty over the next few months.”
“The rugby community can continue to organise non-contact fixtures with other clubs using Ready4Rugby [a non-contact game enabling two teams of up to 10 players to engage in training and match activity in their own club environment] and other touch rugby activity. Limited and restricted contact rugby training can also be continued.
“The RFU continues to be in active dialogue with government about moving to Stage E on the Roadmap. Should we reach this point at any time before Christmas, competitive friendly matches could commence.”