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Return to Rugby

League Pathway

[Aug 26] The Welsh Rugby Union’s Community Game Board has made the decision to bring forward the start of the 2021/22 senior men’s League season to Saturday 13 November following a review of the rugby and public health landscape.

This will apply to all Divisions from Championship to Division Three with clubs playing each other home or away in the Divisions they were competing in at the conclusion of the National League season in March 2020. The main aims this season are to return to the full community game swiftly but as safely as possible while supporting the development of players, coaches, referees and teams and welcoming supporters back to grounds during this transitional period.

CLICK HERE for full update

[May 28] Plans have been revealed for the first WRU-organised community rugby competitions since all rugby was suspended due to COVID-19 in March 2020.

The first senior, 15-a-side competitions for male and female senior players, played under modified Laws to reduce contact in the scrum and maul, are set to run from August to December, as per the WRU’s Pathway to Participation published in March.

The competitions will each take the form of Pool rounds based around local geography followed by an open knock-out phase.

In the male game there will be an Indigo Group Premiership Cup and Championship Cup along with a Plate, Bowl and Shield for National League clubs while in the female game, WRU National Senior Female Clubs will compete in a North Wales Cup, South Wales Cup and South Wales Plate along the same lines.

CLICK HERE for full update

[April 30] The Welsh Rugby Union has urged Welsh community rugby to take at least six weeks to return to full contact training safely after more than 13 months without the contact element of the game.

Teams at all levels of the community game in Wales can begin to gradually introduce some contact elements of the game into training sessions from Saturday 1 May, in line with the WRU’s Pathway to Participation (click here). Matches both internally within clubs and externally against other clubs must be non-contact at this stage – tag and touch only. Clubs may now cross District boundaries for matches but must stay within Wales.

This latest phase of the Union’s return to rugby plan is set to lead into the introduction of contact matches at 7 and 10 a side from mid-June before sanctioning some modified 15 a side rugby from August.

Extensive support and suggested session plans will be available to coaches and other volunteers on the WRU Gamelocker and a webinar has been held with more than 300 Club Operations Managers around Wales.

CLICK HERE for full update

[April 9] The Welsh Rugby Union has welcomed the latest Welsh Government announcement that rugby activity for adults can resume from Monday 26 April, providing public health conditions continue to be favourable.

Community rugby activities resumed for Under 18s on March 27 and now, following the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, adults around Wales will be able to return to organised training sessions (groups of up to 30), if clubs feel they can provide a safe environment for all concerned and ensure all the necessary protocols are respected.

While under 18s can now play tag and touch matches against other clubs, in line with the Welsh Rugby Union’s Pathway to Participation, adults will return to the same stage of the Return to Rugby plan as just before and after the Firebreak lockdown in the autumn. As before, the priority will be on skills and fitness-based activities with touch rugby introduced towards the end of the sessions. Providing the public health conditions remain favourable, players at all levels of the community game in Wales will be able to start to re-introduce a level of contact training from May 1.

CLICK HERE for full update

[March 24] The Welsh Rugby Union has published its Pathway to Participation for community rugby. The detailed plan, with an initial focus on a summer of fun formats of the game to help ease players of all ages back into contact rugby, is set to give the National Game a much-needed boost following the understandable impact of the COVID pandemic, and to ensure the community game bounces back to full health and strength.

Players under the age of 18 are already set to return to organised training from Saturday 27 March, pending confirmation from Welsh Government this week. And now, providing the public health conditions remain favourable, tag and touch rugby fixtures for those players (u18s) could be sanctioned from April 1 within their own districts. Measures around training and matches will remain subject to Welsh Government guidelines including access to facilities and any relevant travel restrictions. There will be no spectators at this time and it will be vital that parents / guardians attending for safeguarding reasons continue to abide by all Welsh Government guidance.

All levels of the game, including youth and senior teams (male and female) can look forward to a phased return of modified, limited contact training from May 1. Full details will be provided around what limited contact training entails along with coaching support. For example, there will be no scrums at all at this time.

From mid June, players of all ages can look forward to a month of summer sevens and tens rugby – under modified laws. Clubs and teams will be able to utilise the mid summer period to arrange midweek and weekend matches within agreed, modified formats to ease players back into competitive contact rugby and provide some of the camaraderie that comes with competitive rugby that has been greatly missed so much over the past year. This period will lead into the phased return of 15 a-side rugby and will incorporate full contact training.

CLICK HERE for full update

[March 15 2021] The Welsh Rugby Union has welcomed the news that rugby activity for children and young people under the age of 18 (aged 17 and under in line with Welsh Government guidelines) can resume from Saturday 27 March, providing public health conditions remain favourable.

After working closely with Welsh Government and other partners within the National Sports Group, the WRU has already held an online meeting with Club Operations Managers from its 300+ clubs and other teams to begin to put plans in place for the gradual return of community rugby.

Following today’s announcement, volunteers, players and parents can now plan to return to club-organised training sessions from March 27, if clubs feel they can provide a safe environment for all concerned and put all the necessary protocols in place following the latest lockdown period.

From March 27, training sessions for under 18s will be at the same stage of the Return to Rugby plan as just before and after the Firebreak lockdown in the autumn. As before, the priority will be on skills and fitness-based activities with tag and touch rugby introduced towards the end of the sessions.

CLICK HERE for more details

[Nov 25] The Welsh Rugby Union has sanctioned the introduction of friendly tag (under 7s and under 8s) and touch rugby matches on a club v club basis for all levels of the game.

The WRU issued guidelines for this next phase of the WRU’s Return to Community Rugby plan during a webinar with more than 300 Club Operations Managers, covering areas such as car travel which should be within household bubbles only, and a framework for suggested touch rugby numbers and rules for this period.

Matches must be arranged between teams and clubs within the same WRU district, and strict safety and hygiene protocols are still a prerequisite for all training sessions and friendly matches.

These include:
– pre-match requirements of completing the WRU symptom checker before every training session and match
– the need for players to turn up to training and games ‘match ready’ in kit and with drinks prepared at home.
– On matchday, players and coaches must respect procedures put in place by the host club, for example with regards to arrival times and routes, and the use of essential facilities only.
– Spectators should not attend the friendly matches and parents attending for safeguarding purposes must adhere to Welsh Government guidelines around social distancing and face coverings.

CLICK HERE for more details

[Nov 7] Community rugby teams have been given the green light to resume rugby activities within the current guidelines from Monday (November 9) and urged to employ best practice protocols to ensure the community game is safe and sustainable in the long-term.
After working with Welsh Government and other partners and receiving the full Welsh Government guidance around the return of community sport following the Firebreak lockdown, the Welsh Rugby Union consulted with more than 200 Club Operations Managers and other volunteers, confirming that all levels of community rugby can restart at a similar stage in the return to rugby plan as prior to the Firebreak lockdown.
As before, skills and fitness-based sessions can finish with tag and touch activities for all levels of the game in Wales.
Although Welsh Government guidelines state that groups of up to 30 can now train together, clubs have been strongly urged to split into smaller groups for training purposes for safety reasons.
Full story here

[October 21] Following the First Minister’s announcement on Monday and having met with Welsh Government and all other sports across Wales since then, the Welsh Rugby Union can confirm the following changes to the various levels of Welsh Rugby during the forthcoming ‘firebreak’ lockdown:

– The international and professional game will continue during this period. Wales’ professional teams – Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad and the four professional Welsh Regions will continue to prepare for and compete in the international against France this Saturday, the Guinness Six Nations match against Scotland on October 31, the Autumn Nations Cup and the Guinness Pro 14.
– Having sought clarity from Welsh Government, the WRU can confirm that Wales Women will continue to prepare for and play their final Women’s Six Nations match, against Scotland on Sunday 1 November.
All of these teams will continue to operate under the strict protocols that have been in place since they returned to train during the summer months.
– All aspects of the community game are captured fully by the Welsh Government’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown and as such all community rugby activity is paused between Friday 6pm and Monday 9 November. All exercise during this period, other than in the above category, should take place locally, wherever possible from your home and with members of your household only during this period.
– The WRU has written to all its member clubs with details of a further emergency funding payment of £450k. This includes an allocation from the WRU’s Emergency Fund to specifically help ease the running costs incurred by clubs who own or manage facilities and £280k from Sport Wales to help clubs return to rugby.

CLICK HERE for more

[October 15] The temporary suspension of community rugby in Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan has been lifted with immediate effect after reviewing of the situation in conjunction with the clubs within the respective Local Authorities and more than two weeks after a local lockdown was imposed.

[October 14] The temporary suspension of community rugby in the Swansea and Cardiff areas have been lifted with immediate effect after reviewing of the situation in conjunction with the clubs within the respective Local Authorities and more than two weeks after a local lockdown was imposed.

Along with clubs and teams in Caerphilly County Borough, RCT, Newport, Merthyr, Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent where the temporary rugby suspensions have already been lifted, teams of all ages in Cardiff and Swansea Local Authorities may now return to training within the current return to rugby guidelines (CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS), if they feel they can provide a safe environment for players, coaches and volunteers.

Full update here:

[September 26] Following the additional local restrictions announced by Welsh Government for Llanelli town, Swansea and Cardiff,  all community rugby training in those County Boroughs will be suspended until further notice in line with government timelines.

This means there will be no sanctioned Club or Female Hub rugby training activity in those areas from 6pm this evening (Saturday) for Llanelli clubs and 6pm Sunday for Cardiff and Swansea clubs.

Whilst we acknowledge that schools are remaining open, we want to play our part in limiting community transmission at this time, and our priority here is player welfare and public health.

Community rugby is currently suspended in all areas where there are local restrictions – Caerphilly, RCT, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr and Newport in addition to Llanelli, Cardiff and Swansea added today.
Our clubs have been patient and resilient to date, and we know that you will want to play your part in helping the local communities get back to normal as quickly as possible.

We would also remind Clubs and Hubs that travel into and out of these areas is not permitted without good reason, and travelling to attend training would not be considered a valid reason.

We will continue to review these measures on a regular basis and in line with Welsh Government information.
In relation to the use of rugby clubs for social purposes, this also needs to be managed in accordance with Welsh government guidance and with the required Covid-19 hygiene and Track and Trace protocols in place.
This change of guidelines relates to ALL community rugby

Phased return
[August 26] The Welsh Rugby Union has announced measures to further progress the phased return of community rugby in Wales – while still taking a safety-first approach to the resumption of the grassroots game.

In line with Welsh Government guidance, the governing body has now sanctioned the inclusion of touch rugby activities as part of fitness and skills-based training sessions at all levels of the game in Wales. This is in addition to the tag and touch rugby already sanctioned for under 7s to under 11s.However, in order to continue to be part of the solution of the covid crisis, and with player welfare front of mind, all other measures remain in force at this time.
 These include:
– Training should take place in small groups (max 10-15 )
– Social distancing still applies to all other parts of training sessions and gatherings (there should be no huddles, close team talks or traditional team photos)
– Balls and cones are the only equipment currently permitted
– This is not a contact phase of rugby, there should be no tackling, wrestling, rucking, mauling, line-outs or scrums
- In-house activities only. No matches are to take place against other clubs, hubs or schools
– All education and pre-training protocols in place must still be adhered to before attending any training sessions. This includes the World Rugby Covid awareness course and WRU online registration before the FIRST training session and the WRU Gamelocker symptom checker before EACH training session.For update, CLICK HERE

WRU Policy and Integrity Manager Jeremy Rogers, from the WRU Club Operations team, introduces a webinar focusing on First Aid for the return to rugby alongside Ian McCarroll, Training Development Officer with St. John, Wales and John Miles, WRU National Squad and Community Game Physiotherapist.

[July 31] Following the latest Welsh Government update, the national governing body has issued a clear reminder of the processes that must be followed before clubs and teams can start to organise club-organised rugby training.

The Welsh Rugby Union recently outlined a phased, safety-first Return to Rugby plan for the community game following Welsh Government guidance which stated that clubs can start to organise non-contact, small group training from August 1 provided they, along with players and coaches first fulfil a set of strict safety criteria [SEE THAT UPDATE HERE].

Since then, detailed advice has been issued to those involved in the community game in Wales and a series of webinars have been held with Club Operations Managers and other key volunteers covering key areas such as the practicalities of preparing players, volunteers and club facilities for training sessions; changes to first aid procedures; the registration process and a return to training fund for clubs.

In addition, the WRU Community coaching department will publish an activity guide and webinar for coaches to support the safe return to training at all levels of the game which includes safety guidance and ideas for session plans within the current restrictions.

For full story, CLICK HERE

[July 14] The Welsh Rugby Union has outlined a phased, safety-first Return to Rugby for the community game following the latest Welsh Government guidance.

While the timeline for the return of competitive matches is dependent on the Welsh Government’s next steps in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, during a webinar attended by more than 300 club representative, the WRU clarified how rugby clubs and groups in Wales can start to plan their return to non-contact training within small groups in Wales from August 1.

The return to club-organised training is dependent on the completion of a period of education and preparation steps and caveats.

1. All coaches, players – or parents of junior players – will be asked to complete World Rugby’s online Covid-19 Return to Play awareness course. They must then complete the WRU’s online registration process which will open on August 1. Once they are fully registered, players and coaches may take part in club-organised training sessions. These will be organised in small groups of between 10 and 15 players and should focus on fitness, skills and small-sided, non-contact games within training groups. Club Operations Managers will be provided with detailed Return to Rugby guidelines and invited to a sanctioned training webinar later this week. This will cover areas such as behaviours and hygiene before, during and after training, the use of equipment and the organisation of training pitches to keep training groups separate. There will be an online symptom checker to complete ahead of all training sessions via the WRU Game Locker.

2. Clubs need  to be prepared. There will be additional webinars on preparing facilities, on funding and updated First Aid procedures which will cover the use of relevant PPE where necessary. The WRU is in talks with suppliers of PPE and will update clubs on this area.

3. A phased approach is vital. The first phase of training will be held in groups of 10 – 15 and significant further easing of restrictions, especially when it comes to social distancing, will need to take place before contact training can begin. Further guidance on gradually increasing group sizing and will be provided at the appropriate time.

WRU Operations Director Julie Paterson said: “We are determined to be part of the solution to Covid-19 and for that to happen it is important we all work together. The safety of everyone involved in Welsh community rugby and their wider communities is of paramount importance and when rugby returns, we all want it to return for good.

“We will utilise the immediate period ahead of August 1 to help prepare clubs and groups to return to the first stage of club-organised rugby training.”

WRU Community Director Geraint John added, “Although these are unforeseen and enforced circumstances, it is also a fantastic opportunity for coaches and players to hone individual and team skills that will benefit the game in the long-term. We will provide ideas and resources for coaches but we are also asking them to be innovative and to encourage creativity.”


Community Game Guidance

[June 25] The Welsh Rugby Union has clarified how the latest Welsh Government [COVID] guidelines, in force from Monday 22 June affect Welsh community rugby.

While team and contact sports are not yet permitted to resume training, the Welsh Rugby Union has issued some practical advice to clubs to help get pitches ready to welcome players when appropriate in line with government guidance.

The guidelines around training practices is unchanged in terms of people from one or two households (see above graphic to illustrate this). The only change to the Union’s advice to clubs is that, providing clubs can guarantee safe working practices, they are now encouraged to start maintaining their pitches following three months of inactivity.

The WRU has issued a Pitch Preparation Guidance document (SEE BELOW). The document, drawn up with the Grounds Management Association, covers everything from the recommended length of grass for out of use periods, to aeration, irrigation, local repairs and control of thatch.

WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “While we are all missing rugby activity, we must be part of the solution to controlling Covid-19 in Wales and not become a cause for increasing the infection rate. We are working very closely with the Welsh Government on all areas of the game, from community to elite and commercial activities.

“Our advice at the moment is to stay active within the Welsh Government guidelines which means train individually, with members of your household, or, in line with government advice – stay local and with members of one other household.

“However, following Friday’s government update, we have now entered an important preparation stage and we advise clubs to take on board this pitch preparation advice which is the first step before we can resume any rugby activity on club pitches. We are grateful that so many of our clubs have appointed a Club Operations Manager and we will continue to liaise directly with them as we begin to Return to Rugby.”


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