A few weeks ago, there was a degree of optimism around that we might be back to competitive rugby in November. The recent tightening of social restrictions, driven by a nationwide increase in infection rates, particularly in northern cities, has thrown that into reverse and we appear to be as far away from a return to rugby as we ever were.
The RFU have already announced that there will be no competitive rugby in the community game until January at the earliest and have this week released an update video from Steve Grainger, the RFU’s Rugby Development Director, which can be viewed by clicking here.
The NCA have been considering options for competitive rugby on the basis of a January start. In a statement released on 14 October, they note that RFU is working closely with DCMS to agree a return to rugby and state:
“Following the ballot of all clubs, which was against a 15-match league season (the vote was 11-5 against in National One alone), the NCA executive met on Monday and agreed that due to potential local lockdowns, player infection and travel restrictions, it would be difficult to operate a meaningful season”.
One option being considered, as has been reported, is a cup competition specifically for the National League clubs, with finals at prestige locations. “This would give players and spectators incentives, but also encourage commercial partners to remain involved throughout the second half of the season,” said NCA chairman John Inverdale.
“Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to get the game going again, but the NCA cannot operate unilaterally. The RFU has been very supportive of the concerns being voiced by NCA Clubs and they are holding a couple of hugely important meetings over the next 10 days and I would hope we will have a definitive decision on what kind of a season lies ahead within the next fortnight.”