National League Rugby clubs can return to full contact training from July 19th after the Government confirmed Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. (Photo Credit: Simon Cooper)

Our clubs haven’t been able to train at full capacity for 16 months but from Monday, the reintroduction of scrums and mauls means we can begin preparing for what is set to be ‘rugby as normal’ when the new season starts in September.

Full contact 15-a-side friendly matches will be permitted from 7 August for clubs that wish to take part and teams and coaches must also follow the RFU’s Rugby Roadmap and return to scrummaging guidance, to provide an incremental and safe return for all players.

“It is a source of great relief and I’m hugely excited by the prospect of watching National League Rugby again,” said National League Rugby chairman John Inverdale.

“With the new law changes announced yesterday by World Rugby, I’m hoping the game will be more enjoyable to both watch and play.”

“We are thrilled that community clubs and players will soon be able to return to full contact rugby,” RFU Director of Rugby Development, Steve Grainger told England Rugby’s website.

“Rugby volunteers, coaches, players and officials have shown remarkable resilience and patience during a challenging 16 months.

“As always, player welfare is our main priority and we need to manage the return to scrums and mauls as safely as possible. We have issued detailed guidance to clubs and Constituent Bodies via our Community Game Update, to support the safe return of players to full contact rugby for both the adult and Age Grade game. This information will also be shared directly with players, coaches and match officials.

“Players should only return to match intensity full contact rugby when they feel physically and technically ready to do so. There is no pressure to return to match play on 7 August. The option is there for clubs and players that have been training throughout the summer and are ready to progress to the next stage of re-introducing scrums and mauls if they wish.”

The National League Rugby Roadmap

19 July

  • Scrums and mauls can be re-instated in training only.
  • A minimum 3-week preparation period of training sessions follows ahead of match play.
  • Coaches are reminded that they are responsible for working with all players to assess their physical readiness and technical competence before returning to scrummaging. Players may be at different levels of fitness and conditioning.
  • Coaches must be satisfied that players have undertaken sufficient preparation, skill refinement and reconditioning work before returning to full contact match play.

7 August

  • Full contact 15-a-side and 10-a-side rugby matches, with scrums and mauls, may resume against other clubs from, and not before, 7 August
  • It is the choice of clubs and players whether they wish to compete in full contact matches from 7 August. There is no pressure to do so.
  • Teams that do not yet feel ready for full contact 15s have the option of playing 7s, 10s, XRugby or 15-a-side rugby with uncontested scrums.

4 September 

  • Start of the new season – competition dates for men’s and women’s competitions as previously communicated.

The RFU have also issued guidance with the return of scrums and mauls to training. Coaches should assess the physical readiness and technical competence of their players. Additional time must be allowed for any player who requires further conditioning before returning to full scrummaging and full contact match play. More information is below:

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