It’s Rugby – But Not As We Know It

As we boldly continue our journey into the unknown, the RFU has announced government agreement for the community game to jump from Stage A to Stage E on the “Return to Rugby” roadmap. This means that, from Wednesday 2 December, all parts of the community game are able to move to “adapted contact” training with friendly 15-a-side inter-club matches to be permitted under adapted Laws from 18 December, in advance of the start of some form of 15-a-side structured rugby – again under adapted Laws – in the New Year.

The temporary Law changes that underpin the return to 15-a-side rugby comprise essentially the replacement of scrums with a free-kick and the prohibition of mauls. Further detail is available by clicking here.

A number of issues remain to be clarified, including the use of shared changing room and shower facilities, travel arrangements, spectator management and availability of refreshments, and everything is subject to government infection control policy, but we are moving towards a return to some form of inter-club rugby in the New Year. The NCA are working on a proposed NCA Cup to start in January while Yorkshire RFU are drawing up fixtures for our sides that compete in Yorkshire Merit Tables. Further details will be announced as soon as these are available.

In accordance with the new guidance, training under Covid-19 protocols will recommence on Wednesday 2 December for Juniors, Thursday for Seniors and Sunday for minis. Tier 3 residents can travel to take part in organised outdoor training at the club but should limit social interaction in line with Tier 3 restrictions.

At the club, we are now in Tier 2, which is less flexible than the previous Tier 1 in terms of socialising and the sale of alcohol. The bar remains closed as we are not selling substantial meals and indoor socialising between households is prohibited. We hope to arrange a take-out service from the kitchen for Sunday morning, with limited indoor seated capacity in the event of bad weather.

Many thanks

Robert Fort, Chairman, Wharfedale RUFC

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