Bognor welcome return of 'proper' rugby - and can't wait to play
Clubs have welcomed government approval for the return of contact rugby and the 15-a-side action.
The RFU’s plans for a modified version of the sport has been given the green light, just as the latest lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Among clubs looking forward to getting back on the pitch are Bognor RFC, where vice-chairman Doug Millen said: “We’re excited that rugby can finally return to some normality.
“I was a little surprised we’re able to return to contact rugby straight out of lockdown. We were expecting a gradual return through the stages on the RFU roadmap. It is a welcome surprise.
“Rugby has been very Covid-aware and stringent regulations have been adhered to, with no known community rugby caused infections reported, to our knowledge, nationally. This will really help re-engage players and club members again.
“It’s been a long time since the season was abruptly ended in March. With the no or very-limited contact return to rugby in September our players were happy to come together to enjoy any format of rugby. Just being around the club and friends was a massive emotional and physical benefit.
“The new format with no scrums or mauls, although not ideal, is again very welcome by all the players. We will be looking to arrange friendlies for our three adult teams this side of Christmas – the first permitted matches in the new format are after December 18. We can’t wait to see our first photos and match reports of the season in the Observer!”
Millen added: “We await RFU and government guidance regarding the logistics of getting the game on.
“We are currently unsure about clubhouse use and whether the bar can be opened and under what rules. Hopefully clarification is imminent. Our local teams in Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire are all in Tier 2 so travel between clubs shouldn’t be an issue.”