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Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club making plans for sport's return

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It has been a long road back but players at the area’s clubs are finally building towards some matches again after the government gave the green light for an adapted form of 15-a-side contact rugby.

Team training was able to resume on Wednesday with clubs able to play the RFU’s Covid-adapted form of the game with friendly fixtures, initially, from December 18.

There will be no scrums or mauls in the game, free kicks instead of scrums at a restart and a minimum of five (maximum seven) players required to form a line-out.

Bury's head coach Nick Wakley. Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury's head coach Nick Wakley. Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury St Edmunds’ director or rugby and head coach Nick Wakley has got a taste of what it will be like from watching his partner Shona Powell-Hughes in action for Gloucester-Hartpury in the Allianz Premier 15s. And he thinks spectators will enjoy watching fast-paced games.

“I have been quite lucky to be watching a lot of English Women’s Premiership and they are playing pretty much the same rules, so it has given me a chance to see life without scrums and mauls, which they can’t have in the middle of the pitch,” he said.

“It is going to be high-octane rugby with lots of tackles and collisions and hopefully will be a good spectacle, I am looking forward to it.”

The Haberden club, who returned to training last night for the first time in a month, have opted in to the National Club Association’s (NCA) proposal to for regionalised competitive matches in the new year.

Wakley admitted that, unlike the London & South East League, there was no pools of teams they would be playing laid in front of them yet but he is hopefully of some big local fixtures to salvage their 2020/21 season.

“We are incredibly lucky that we have got a few established National League sides like Cambridge and Bishop’s Stortford on our doorstep and they would be great sides for us to go up against that should bring numbers to the club and a great derby feel to games,” he said.

“Even the lower-league teams around our local area would be something for the boys and the coaches to sink their teeth in to.

“The way we have got to look at it is a pre-cursor or pre-season for the boys and really focus on the 2021/22 season to get the boys back in shape and match ready.”

Bury have already got their first friendly fixture agreed, at home to lower-league North Walsham on Saturday, December 19. The kick-off time is yet to be confirmed.