IRFU issue update on when club fixtures may return

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

IRFU issue update on when club fixtures may return

The IRFU has issued a 2020/21 domestic season update

THE IRFU has confirmed that it is currently reviewing the Club Competitions Season Outline for 2020/2021.

The document, which pertains to all IRFU adult competitions sponsored by Energia, was published and issued to clubs in July 2020.

It maps out two stages for the season. Stage 1 is planned until the end of December and limits clubs to playing games against teams from within their province.

The decision to progress into Stage 2 of the 2020/21 season, where games can be held between teams from difference provinces, is subject to the following criteria:

* Continued government guidance that field sports are allowed
* Continued low presence of COVID-19 in the community
* Lack of clusters or any other resurgence of the virus
* Willingness of players to participate in an expanded competition
* While all clubs were able to complete a full pre-season and commence competition, the importance of contact readiness must now be considered in any return to competitive or friendly rugby matches.

Should government restrictions be lifted to the point where rugby matches are permitted, the IRFU are advising a 14-day period where clubs ensure contact readiness before any games are played.

An update to the status of Stage 2 of the 2020/21 season will be issued in the coming days. However clubs should note that at a minimum, the resumption of any competitive games will now not take place until January 9, 2021.

Greg Barrett, Chair of IRFU Rugby Committee: “It’s clear that COVID-19 is still in our communities and we’re not as far down the road of the season as we would have liked to be.

"Training is a valuable outlet for skill development and health, including mental health, but games are what field sports are all about. If there is a chance for games to be played, we will want to play them in line with government guidelines.

"This season was always going to be different. We will continue to be flexible with our season plan and we are asking clubs to stay the course.