Community Game Update: Return to rugby update

There are several links that apply to referees and Developers specifically. Scroll down and click on any of the links to find out more.

Return to RugbyThis week’s headlines include:
1. Rugby Union Winter Survival Fund – Loans and Grants update
2. Return to Rugby On-field guidance
3. Return to Rugby Off-field guidance
4. Training Courses including First Aid
5. Age grade activity – Easter camps & summer activity
6. Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year – 2020 winners unveiled & 2021 nominations now open
7. Webinars and on-demand videos

Send photos and videos to @EnglandRugby of you gearing up for rugby; cleaning your boots, preparing the pitch and getting your kit ready with #ReturnToRugby.

Return to Rugby Roadmap reminder

• Shareable JPEG version
• PDF version
Rugby Union Winter Survival Fund Loans updateWe are working through the final details with Sport England ahead of launching the RUWSF loans process and will publish further information shortly. The application period is set to open in early April.

Rugby Union Winter Survival Fund Grants

The grace period for clubs to apply for a RUWSF Grant has now closed.

Clubs who applied in the first window will be contacted by the end of March. We are in the process of issuing award letters to clubs who have been successful in their application for a RUWSF Grant.

Those who applied during the grace period are likely to be contacted by mid-April.
Return to Rugby – on field guidanceStage D1 (from Monday 29 March) and Stage D2 (from Monday 26 April) guidance below includes advice for incremental contact training, building up to a max of 20 mins per session, excluding scrums and mauls, recommended coach to player ratio, equipment use and sanitisation advice.

• Full Stage D1 and D2 guidance.
• Examples of types of contact permitted in training – JPEG
• 10 minute video outlining key information to support the return to Stages D1 & D2.
• Presentation slides summary from RFU Coach Development.
• Coaches Q&A webinar on Stages D1 and D2.
Return to Rugby – off field guidance. At the time of writing, government guidance on areas relating to off-field such as clubhouses and travel hasn’t yet been published. As soon as this is available, we will update Coronavirus Hub and the Return to Rugby page.

The following guidelines apply from Monday 29 March Government Step 1B until Government’s Step 2 comes into force, which will be no earlier than Monday 12 April.


It is expected that clubhouses will be able to re-open in line with national hospitality guidance from Step 2 on the government’s roadmap. This is when pubs and restaurants will be permitted to re-open (no earlier than 12 April.)

We will update CBs and Clubs on facilities and catering guidance closer to this date, when guidelines have been published by government.


Travel for sport and exercise is permitted. However, we strongly recommend keeping travel to a minimum.

We are awaiting the publication of government guidance relating to car sharing, minibus and coach use and will update when clarification has been received.

Changing rooms and showers

Changing rooms and showers cannot open from Monday 29 March, except for use by disabled people or in an emergency (for example should an injury occur and require treatment indoors).

A reminder for managing risk during non-occupancy, for example Legionella advice, can be found here.

We are awaiting publication of guidance as to whether changing rooms will be permitted to open at Step 2 on the government’s roadmap (provisionally Monday 12 April) or at Step 3 (provisionally Monday 17 May).

Toilet Facilities

Toilets are allowed to open on Monday 29 March. Please ensure toilet facilities are regularly sanitised and, if possible, keep windows open for ventilation. The decision on how long to keep toilets open will be at the discretion of each club. Further advice on the re-opening of toilet facilities is available here.

Spectators / age grade players’ parents or carers

Spectators are not allowed at any community sport and physical activity sessions or events. This does not apply to carers for disabled people, or adults needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role.

Where it is necessary for them to be present, supervising adults or waiting parents/carers should not mix with others from outside their household or support bubble.

While we understand it is difficult for clubs to police, please remind parents during minis and junior sessions that we must respect the spirit in which grassroots sport has been granted permission to return. Please strongly discourage parents from huddling together on sidelines.

Track and trace protocols

At the time of writing, we are awaiting confirmation of whether the previous Covid-19 track and trace protocols need to be followed and will update in Friday’s Community Game Update.

Previous Covid-19 track and trace protocols are here.

Takeaway – serving and consuming teas, coffees, etc

As per the Government guidance on takeaways Club catering facilities should follow the latest government guidance for hospitality venues. Premises can only offer food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway until 11pm. Takeaway refreshment (coffees, teas etc.) should be taken away from the premises entirely, which includes any adjoining pitches owned and managed by the club, to ensure that there is no risk to their premises licence or club premises certificate. Clubs should not encourage gatherings.

For further information contact the Hospitality & Alcohol Licensing Helpline 0115 934 9177.

Our Club Support Centre FAQs and Return to Rugby page will continue to be updated as sport-specific guidance is published by government in the coming days.

Sport England FAQs and exemptions.
Training CoursesTraining for Coaches, Match Officials and Volunteers will start again from next month to support the return to play.

In line with the government’s four step road map, we are we are taking a cautious approach to re-opening face-to-face training courses.

Government guidelines permitting, it is our intention to return to operating at full capacity at the start of the 2021/22 rugby season.

Information regarding the resumption of training courses can be found on the Return to Rugby page below, including:

• Emergency First Aid in Rugby Union/Play it Safe Safeguarding
• Kids First Tag Rugby/Contact Rugby
• England Rugby Coaching Award/Refereeing Award
• Player Welfare eLearning
• Search for and book a course.

In our most recent episode of ‘Connected Match Official,’ Crag-Maxwell Keys looked at how to referee the breakdown.Return To RugbyCraig Maxwell-Keys
Age grade activity – Easter camps & summer activity Easter Camps

Rugby camps will be allowed during the Easter holidays from 29 March when we reach Stage D1 on the Return to Rugby Roadmap. Rugby camps must first have CB approval under Regulation 15.9 and should follow the checklist in Codes of Practice 6.2.

All on pitch activity must be in line with the timings for activity and contact elements, coach to player ratios, social distancing and sanitising/hygiene practices in the Stage D1 guidance.

We would strongly encourage CBs to request confirmation of risk assessments and proof that camps are following Stage D1 guidance and off-field Covid-19 protocols.

Clubhouses, changing rooms and showers will not be permitted to open from Monday 29 March for Easter rugby camps.

Only toilets are permitted to open and should be regularly sanitised and ventilated where possible.

Children should be advised to arrive fully changed, ready for rugby, and to then shower and change at home. We are awaiting government confirmation on when changing rooms and showers will be allowed to re-open.

Rugby camp venues must follow the rules of the government’s 4-step Roadmap, which includes limited indoor use before Monday 12 April.

For a national programme – Premiership Rugby camps are part of their national Premiership Academy programme – camps are approved centrally by the RFU. However, we ask them to inform CBs of when and where they are planning to ensure everyone is aware of the camp to avoid clashes and encourage co-promotion.

Age Grade Summer Activity

The age grade out of season regulation (see 15.8) is suspended in 2021. This is replaced with an RFU Summer Training and Playing Framework this year to enable age grade players to catch up on missed rugby development opportunities safely.

On Friday 9 April, we will announce this summer rugby training and playing framework for age grade players, including CB, DPP and rugby camps. The programme will run from June to the end of August and will include contact training and inter club activity.

From January 2022 we expect to be able to return to normal procedure.
Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year winnersMitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards 2020 drew to a close on Friday with a virtual awards evening recognising the effort and achievement of volunteers from across the country. 45 nominated volunteers made the finalist list with three overall winners being crowned on the night.

You can see some of the volunteers’ stories below.

As one door closes, another opens. Today we launch the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards 2021.

Given the unprecedented year we’ve all experienced, it seems apt to mark it in a slightly different way. This season will therefore include a new format in which there are three national award categories:

• Resilience in Rugby Award
• Beyond Rugby Award
• Diversity & Inclusion Award

These awards have been created to recognise the exceptional work that has gone into keeping not only rugby clubs going, but also local communities.

You can find out more about this year’s awards and today’s launch by using the link below.Volunteers’ StoriesVolunteer Nominations
Webinars and on-demand videosWe have our previous CoachingRefereeing, and Club webinars on-demand alongside those below that are coming up.

Introducing the Mental Wellbeing for Players webinar – Thursday 25 March – 7pm – Keeping The Rugby Community Healthy
Technical difficulties last week means we have re-scheduled the webinar for Thursday. We welcome rugby players of all ages to a healthy discussion about mental wellbeing, creating kinder cultures and the importance of looking out for each other.

Guest speaker, David Beeney, who has years of experience talking about (and not talking about) mental health is joined by former England Rugby captain Dylan Hartley. We put player welfare at the heart of the game to keep the community healthy, with help from our trusted healthcare partner Simplyhealth.

Webinar: Using Social Media to engage players – Thursday 25 March 7pm
This webinar will cover how you can use social media to effectively engage with your players and reach more people. It will be hosted by RFU Social Media Manager Joe Ogden who will look at each platform and provide some top tips on how to use your social media channels.

NFL Presents: A Conversation on Tackling Covid-19 – Wednesday 7 April – 7pm
Covid-19 leads are invited to join a webinar with medical leaders from American football and English rugby about their leagues’ COVID-19 mitigation strategies and what we’ve learned through the challenges of the last year.

Experts will discuss a range of areas including; how rugby’s rules can be adapted to reduce transmission risk; protocols; the impact of altered season structures on injury risk; lessons learned from sport that can be applied more broadly; and the risks and opportunities that lie ahead. While this is largely looking at elite level we will also discuss how this has shaped the community game and what learnings can be taken forward as we continue our return to rugby.

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