On Friday 5 March, the RFU issued new guidance on return to rugby and a new “Return to Rugby Roadmap” which can be viewed by clicking here. These are based on the government timetable for the progressive lifting of Covid-19 restrictions announced on 22 February.
We remain at Stage A of the RFU Roadmap until 29 March. This permits training with only one other person from outside the same household and all our facilities remain closed. The key dates in the new RFU Roadmap are:
29 March Outdoor training under limited contact rules (no scrums or mauls) can recommence for age grade and adult players. All existing H&S protocols continue to apply. Tag, touch and “Ready 4 Rugby” matches against other clubs are permitted.
26 April Limited contact (no scrum or maul) matches against other clubs.
17 May Earliest date when full contact training can resume. Subject to progress on national government lifting of restrictions.
31 May Earliest date when full contact matches can resume.
It is important to note that the May dates are “earliest possible”, subject to the government’s wider timetable for easing of lockdown being maintained; also that all these steps are “rugby only” and do not take into account the continuing national restrictions particularly on indoor facilities, travel, bar/catering and spectators. RFU have promised further guidance on these areas over the coming weeks. It is currently anticipated that all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted no earlier than 21 June, allowing the prospect of a full pre-season and a return to normal competition from the scheduled start of the 2021/22 season in September.
Supporters may have seen in the press that the club has agreed in principle to take part in the Ventur Cup, a four-club competition instigated by Leeds RUFC and including ourselves, Otley and Huddersfield, which is provisionally scheduled to start on 8 May and end with a Finals Day at Headingley Stadium on 20 June. Whilst the new RFU roadmap makes this timetable possible in terms of rugby, the government timetable does not currently appear to permit spectators to attend until 17 May at the earliest, which is likely to impact on the timing, format and potentially the viability of this tournament. Discussions will continue with the other clubs and a further announcement will be made in due course.