Dear Colleagues

Move to Stage D on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap includes inter-club noncontact fixtures 

I hope that you are all well. We know from the many emails and messages on social media that you are keen to Return to Rugby.

The phased return of community rugby has now reached the next step, with clubs able to start limited and restricted contact rugby training and organise inter-club non-contact fixtures. This follows the reintroduction of intra-club non-contact rugby union activity at the beginning of August.

The reintroduction of limited contact training has been approved by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (‘DCMS’) and moves The Return to Community Rugby Roadmap from Stage C to Stage D.

The reinstatement of some contact activity and inter-club fixtures is important to ensure players, and equally as important, referees, can practice core skills and are able to start conditioning themselves appropriately. You will then be prepared as the game starts to return to normality with regular training and matches.

Varied training conditions will allow the return of tackling, lineouts and rucks, ensuring players are prepared to perform these skills safely and effectively with some restrictions. This gives us an ideal opportunity to support our clubs and players and get us back into referee mode 😊

Detail of the permitted training activity is available in the return Return to Contact Training guidance.

Clubs are also now able to organise non-contact fixtures with other clubs using Ready4Rugby or other Touch formats. They should ensure they are appropriately set up and prepared for safely welcoming other clubs and referees to their venues – Ready4Rugby Playing Guide and World Rugby Touch Rugby Laws

Referees and Referee Societies are encouraged to engage with their local clubs, familiarising themselves of their risk assessments and deploying appropriately to support return to rugby activity. Any return to officiating is a decision for individuals to make and they must continue to follow Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidelines, along with any local government lockdown restrictions that may be introduced. Activity undertaken in accordance with the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap is covered by RFU liability insurance.

Take care and stay safe,

Yours in ref’ing

Michael Patz

RFU Match Official Development Manager