Community rugby clubs have witnessed 'a false dawn' after return-to-rugby roadmap is set back

Marlow RFC director of rugby Simon Hammond says community rugby clubs have witnessed ‘a false dawn’ after the return-to-rugby roadmap was reset following the Government’s announcement of the new lockdown.

Having been able to play an adapted version of the game involving contact in December, Marlow were beginning to build confidence that they would be in some form of competitive action in the New Year.

However, in line with the Government policy, the RFU announced the suspension of all community rugby activity until further notice last Monday (January 4), sending the return-to-rugby roadmap back to Stage A where only individual training with one other person is permitted.

Community rugby includes all levels below the Championship, which is scheduled to restart in March, and the Premier 15s and Premiership which follow elite sport return protocols.

“We were caught in a bit of a false dawn I suppose,” said Hammond.

“At the start of December, we were allowed to train and play using limited contact in an adaption of the game. Then it was taken away from us before Christmas as we went from tier 2 to tier 4 very quickly. It’s meant we couldn’t play any rugby at all and we haven’t been at the club since before Christmas.

“From a community point of view, we couldn’t risk us getting together and potentially spreading COVID as a group. So we made the decision not to do that.

“We’ve now been updated by the RFU that we won’t be able to play any rugby for the time being. We’ve gone through this roadmap, up to Phase E, and now we’re back to A again where we can’t do anything.”

Hammond added: “The players aren’t happy but they understand.

“It’s a situation we find ourselves in. It’s not as if they’re missing out because they see people in other parts of the country playing the game. I think that would be the biggest frustration.

“Some frustration is definitely there but hopefully they can channel it the way the Government have been guiding people. If they can find a park or some open space they can do some running and drills individually. That will be there for our players to tick over and keep themselves fit until we can get back doing some organised training.”

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