The RFU have published an outline Roadmap for the return to rugby with options for what the competitive season 2020/21 might look like. The Roadmap comprises six stages, each dependent on progressive government relaxation of social distancing restrictions. We are currently at Stage B, with small group non-contact training permitted subject to social distancing rules. Full competitive contact rugby will not be permitted until we reach Stage F, which requires the complete removal of all social distancing.
As the removal of social distancing rules may be some way off, RFU have set out three options for the 2020/21 league season based on three “Windows” for the restart of league rugby. These are based on league rugby being able to restart by:
3 October (Window 1) – there will be a full season of 30 matches.
28 November (Window 2) – there will be a truncated season of 22 matches – a first round of 15 matches playing each other team once, either home or away, with the league then split into top 8 and bottom 8 for a further round of 7 matches again either home or away.
30 January (Window 3) – half a season of 15 matches, just playing each other team in the league once only, either home or away.
In all cases, the season may need to be extended to 31 May – again subject to appropriate approvals.
Similar models are being developed at regional/county level for regional leagues and merit tables.
Full information is available on the RFU website by clicking here.