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RFU roadmap welcomed by Newark Rugby Club

Newark’s director of rugby has praised the RFU after it announced provisional dates for the 2020-21 season.

Tim Barker, of Newark Rugby Club, said he welcomed plans to begin the campaign at the end of September should it be safe to do so.

Rugby, Southwell 1sts vs Belper at Kelham Rd, Newark. Pictured left with the ball is Josh Hart.. (28820835)
Rugby, Southwell 1sts vs Belper at Kelham Rd, Newark. Pictured left with the ball is Josh Hart.. (28820835)

The RFU, which has a six step return to rugby roadmap (A-F) said competitive play would return when it reaches stage F.

The latest update, which was issued yesterday morning, said the sport’s governing body had submitted their return to community rugby action plan to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The RFU, which is at stage B, said it hoped to announce the move to stage C soon, which would mean the introduction of larger groups and close contact training.

Stage D would see the return of whole team training.

Newark and Southwell were both handed home fixtures to start their respective Midlands Two East North campaigns.

Newark are scheduled to start at home, while the Redmen would host Iikeston, both on Saturday, September 26.

“The dates are only provisional, and they are far from certain yet,” said Barker.

“It is good that the RFU has put its strategies out there for us to see.

“They have announced what will happen with the leagues if we are to start in September, but until then we have to follow the return to play programme and we are at stage B at the moment.”

Unlike football, which from Saturday will see the return to behind-closed-doors friendly matches across all levels, rugby is still in its early stages.

“We can’t train in groups of more than six people and we still have to be socially distanced — nothing major has changed,” said Barker, who also explained the different challenges rugby faced to other team sports.

“You have fundamental differences with rugby in that it is a close contact sport.

“We have bigger challenges than football or hockey in that sense.”

Southwell Rugby Club are set to visit Kelham Road on October 17, and Barker welcomed the excitement the fixture would bring to the town.

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