There will be no official competitive rugby for the semi-professional game this season, after the NCA agreed to cancel the proposed Cup competition that was scheduled to begin once lockdown restrictions were eased.

Following a series of meetings this week involving all 48 clubs in the NCA, there was unanimous agreement that there would be insufficient time to stage an authentic competition, given the continued uncertainty over if and when, training and playing will be allowed.

NCA chairman John Inverdale admitted there was a certain inevitability about the decision: ‘With every re-tiering and subsequent tightening of restrictions, it was getting harder to envisage the NCA cup getting off the ground.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve made the call because there was a huge amount of enthusiasm for the idea, but ultimately we’ve had to concede defeat.”

Clubs will be free to play friendlies as and when restrictions are lifted,  and several local hubs are already considering 3 or 4 team tournaments to take place in April and May.

“It’s up to all our members to decide individually what they want to do,” said Inverdale.  “Some will shut up shop and prepare and hope for a September start next season. Others would like to play matches to satisfy the demands of their players, who are desperate to get back on the pitch, and their supporters who have been starved of going to their local club.”

The NCA would like to thank all our clubs for their support and cooperation throughout this difficult time.