05:00PM, Wednesday 01 July 2020
Three different scenarios have been released by the RFU for the possible return of competitive rugby this season, and Maids’ head coach David Mobbs-Smith says the optimist inside him believes the club could be back playing league matches by October or early November.
The RFU released a roadmap for the return of competitive rugby earlier in the summer, and, while the game is still some way off returning to normal, it is hoped the season can get underway later this year.
While no specific dates have been given it is thought the first scenario would likely see clubs get back to action as normal in September, the second would see the season starting later than planned in October or November, while the third would see a truncated season begin in January.
In the first two scenarios clubs would play their most local rivals first before travelling further afield later in the season, this would make it easier for clubs to restrict the risk of infection as players could travel to games individually and not need to get on a coach.
All three options are subject to the continued improvement in the COVID-19 situation and restrictions being eased by government to enable matches to take place.
“If it starts in September then in theory we’ll have a proper season,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“If there are further unlocks it could still start then. It might be more cautionary. Football could start in September and rugby might start in October maybe. I’m hopeful because they’ve (RFU) given us three options and it tells you that people are trying to get our world back. We’d be back doing what we love. We’ll either start normal, start slightly late or start very late. You can’t ask for more than that from the RFU. They’ve given us something to aim at.
“If we start very late, and I’m thinking it would be January, I believe there would be no promotion or relegation. That would change the whole focus for us and how we prepare in pre-season. If we start slightly late, October or even November, and finish at the end of May, it would basically be pretty much the same.
"It would be done in stages, with the more local matches first. That might be a factor in who wins or loses the league because you’ll play home and away against teams quite soon, and it doesn’t give the team that’s lost much time to find an answer to beat them or to improve. But this is the one I’m hoping for. It pleases everyone. It gives us an extra month for the observation of what’s happening in society but we’d get to play a whole season.
“We might even be able to start in November if you take out the break weekends. November is still four months away so if you’re an optimist and are feeling positive you’re thinking that’s a lot of months for this to go away and for us to have solutions in place to manage it if it does come back.
“The third scenario would be starting in January and just playing a half-season and taking on sides just once, either home or away.”