The RFU are determined not to rush the return of competitive rugby even if other sports or other countries get there first.

The RFU have issued their roadmap for a return to competitive rugby union matches. Picture: RFUThe RFU have issued their roadmap for a return to competitive rugby union matches. Picture: RFU

They have issued their roadmap with six stages that need to be satisfied before they even consider putting two teams up against each other in a competitive fixture.

That is stage F with stage A being individual training with one other person.

Following the government’s advice released on May 28, the sport’s governing body in England says they are at stage B.

The roadmap focuses on a return to community rugby activity and not the reopening of clubhouses. As these are indoor spaces, they will be subject to separate government advice and guidance.

Chief executive officer Bill Sweeney, said: “A great amount of work has been undertaken since rugby was suspended in March to align the various stages of social distancing announced by the government with our decision making focused on the best interests of players, volunteers and clubs.

“When considering the roadmap for a return to community rugby, we were aware that some clubs wanted to get back quicker than others as a major concern of clubs is to retain their players and preserve their revenue streams.

“We also recognise that other sports may return quicker in England and that rugby may return quicker in other countries. However, we will stay focused on what is right for rugby in England.

“Whilst we are keen to have rugby being played and members returning to their clubs, we need to be cautious and will therefore only move from one stage to another when guidance and advice says that it is safe to do so.

“There are many implications of a staged return to play, including the impact on the competitive programme, rugby activity in clubs, schools, colleges and universities and also the use of club houses and indoor facilities.

“We remain committed to addressing these challenges in the run up to the 2020-2021 season.”

Timescales to allow progression between stages will be carefully managed and will be determined by medical and government advice.

Regular updates will be issued by the RFU along with detailed guidance as each progression takes place.