England coach Eddie Jones: Community rugby clubs can get excited about playing again

England coach Eddie Jones has told of his delight after the RFU said the government had approved its submission to a return to 15-a-side contact rugby, with some adaptations.

Some rugby training was held at Chichester before the present lockdown - now the 15-a-side game is on the way back

This follows the Government’s announcement last week that outdoor team sport can resume from tomorrow (2 December).

Further detail on the adaptations to the 15-a-side game and associated laws will follow. However, they are briefly summarised as follows:

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* No scrums or mauls

* Where the game would restart with a scrum, this will be replaced with a free kick

* A minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout

This means clubs can resume adapted training for 15-a-side contact rugby again from tomorrow. Clubs can resume friendly fixtures from December 18 - this is to allow players to prepare properly and safely, having not been training over the past month.

Clubs can still play Ready4Rugby if they have matches coming up from December 2 to December 18 and beyond. There is no obligation to play adapted 15-a-side contact fixtures.

Further government guidance is expected on travel, changing, spectators and clubhouses. The RFU will work to interpret Government information and will provide a detailed briefing.

England Head Coach Eddie Jones said: “I know how much work has gone into getting international rugby back.

“Having community rugby back is the next step in getting the game up and running and I am pleased for everyone involved in the community game, which has gone through a very tough time. They can now get excited about having rugby back in their lives.”

RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger added: “We are delighted that our submission has been approved to return to a format of 15 a-side rugby and we thank Government for working with us to find a solution that enables the safe return of the community game.

“In recent months, we have received growing support from clubs and players in favour of adaptations, with law variations preferable to the option of no rugby at all. This is wonderful news for community clubs, their volunteers, players and supporters around the country, who can now look forward to playing contact rugby for the first time since March.

“We now need to be as safe as we possibly can be and comply with all off-field social distancing and Covid-secure guidance to ensure we can continue our phased return to full contact rugby when it is safe to do so.”