Sudbury Rugby Club are planning a summer of touch rugby to ease players back in for new season
After a whole year without matches, it is just another 11 days before the club’s senior players are set to be permitted to return to touch rugby and limited contact training.
But while some clubs are planning for tournaments and matches against other clubs under adapted contact – no scrums or mauls – laws from April 26, for Sudbury a summer of the touch game lies in store.
The management committee at Whittome Field unanimously voted last week not to take part in any competitive competitions in the immediate future, with protecting the players for a September season return in mind.
Playing chair Simon Dain said the idea will be to introduce things gently and enable players to enjoy the fun and social side of things, without then breaking again before the traditional pre-season period begins.
“People have had such a long lay-off,” he said. “Some people will have undoubtedly kept their fitness up while some other people will be adjusting back into normal life and may have enjoyed a rest and let themselves go a bit.
“From my point of view we do not want to be doing any competitive rugby until we are ready for it. We’ve got to go in gently and protect the players.
“The aim will be to start training and getting ready for pre-season.
"The club is to resume youth and senior training from the start of April and the Minis will return after the Easter break."
But fun will certainly be on the agenda at the club with plans to enjoy easing themselves back into match situations via the RFU’s 10-a-side Covid-compliant Ready4rugby game, a form of touch.
It is hoped inter-club matches can welcome people back to watching rugby and starting to socialise again at Whittome Field from the end of April.
May and June will then present an opportunity to take the first team to a few touch tournaments locally, while also possibly holding their own as well.
“Hopefully we can welcome everyone back to non-competitive but fun rugby,” said Dain. “I say non-competitive but you know any sport is competitive whether it’s touch or whatever.
“It is something we are all looking forward to now, definitely.”
The first time full contact matches could be allowed by the RFU, Covid case data permitting, is from May 31.
RFU rugby development director Steve Grainger said: “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 step on government’s roadmap being achieved, progress towards an exciting season of rugby for 2021/22 from September.
“Over the next couple of weeks, we will share detailed stage-by-stage guidance to make the return to rugby as simple and as safe as possible as we progress through the stages.”
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