Rugby 'roadmap' boosts Fylde hopes of return to action
Fylde RFC’s hopes of playing friendlies in front of spectators from mid-May have been boosted by the release of the Rugby Football Union’s ‘Return to Rugby Roadmap’ for the community game.
However, the plans laid out by the governing body do state that any matches before the end of May would have to take place under adapted rules, with no scrums or mauls, as a safeguard against coronavirus.
It has now been a whole year since Fylde last played and the 2020/21 league season has long since been abandoned.
However, the government’s announcement that training for all outdoor sports clubs can resume three weeks today, with the possibility of staging matches in front of limited crowds from May 17, has raised the prospect of some local friendlies for the Woodlands club.
New joint-head coach Alex Loney told The Gazette last week that it is a prospect welcomed by the squad, who are eager to return to their club.
The Return To Rugby Roadmap announced on Friday is based around the government’s proposed dates for the easing of social restrictions.
The RFU state that: “As in normal years, rugby clubs will be able to host friendly fixtures in the adult game during summer months if they wish.
“As long as Covid-19 infection rates are kept under control, all adult and age grade competitions are expected to start in September, as normal, under full laws.”
Training from March 29 must not include scrums or mauls and contact training should not exceed 20 minutes per session.
After four weeks of training, clubs can play matches against other local clubs under adapted rules from April 26.
However, these would have to be behind closed doors under government guidelines.
Full contact training, including scrums and mauls, would be possible from May 17, provided ‘step three’ on the government’s roadmap is reached by that date.
Full contact matches would be allowed two weeks later, which would be May 31 (bank holiday Monday) at the earliest.
The RFU state that community rugby will move to the final stage of its return “when the government roadmap reaches step four, provisionally in June 21, at which time we anticipate all remaining restrictions will be lifted.”
RFU rugby development director Steve Grainger said: “This is fantastic news for the community game and we are pleased to be able to publish our plan for a phased return to full-contact rugby.
“It’s wonderful to see light at the end of the tunnel and we are as delighted as clubs and players across the country that they will soon be able to resume training and, subject to each stage on government’s roadmap being achieved, progress towards an exciting season of rugby for 2021/22, starting in September.”
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