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IRFU: clubs will be back in September

 

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Clubs have been told that they will be afforded a full five weeks of contact training before the resumption (stock photo)

Clubs have been told that they will be afforded a full five weeks of contact training before the resumption (stock photo)

Clubs have been told that they will be afforded a full five weeks of contact training before the resumption (stock photo)

The IRFU have targeted September for the return of club rugby.

While professional set-ups are due back in training this month ahead of behind-closed-doors inter-pros in the Aviva towards the end of August, local sides won't be too far behind. A modified season for competitions such as the All-Ireland League will begin with local fixtures to minimise travel "where practicable".

The domestic game was suspended in March and it was soon decided that the 2019-20 season would be abandoned. Clubs have been told that they will be afforded a full five weeks of contact training before the resumption.

Chair of the IRFU Rugby Committee Greg Barrett said: "This is another welcome step in our return to rugby. There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes in clubs as they put health and safety plans in place to manage the risk of Covid-19. This announcement helps give us all something to work towards.

"It's important for players to have competitive sport to look forward to and they deserve to know our return to rugby guidelines are built around their welfare. We will provide further clarity on what the 2020-21 season will look like, but what we can say is that the first matches will keep travel to a minimum.

"This should help with concerns around travel, but our hope is that this will also serve as an opportunity for the rugby community to support their clubs and help generate some much-needed cash-flow.

"For now, I would urge clubs to continue to focus on completing the Covid-19 Safety Planning Stage of our guidelines."

Belfast Telegraph