Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Hawks and Rams campaigns cancelled

LEAGUE rugby will not be taking place this season following an announcement by the Rugby Football Union.

The RFU council made the decision to cancel the adult competitive leagues (level three and below for men, level two and below for women) for the 2020/21 season on Friday of last week.

The announcement came as a disappointment for Henley Hawks, Rams and Abbey sides who had hoped to get their season’s underway in January.

A statement issued by the RFU said: “We believe that, even if a return to full contact rugby becomes possible, playing a meaningful competitive league season resulting in promotion and relegation is no longer feasible.

“Given the Government’s additional restrictions to curb the increase in COVID-19 cases in locations across the country and growing concerns around travelling significant distances outside immediate localities to fulfil fixtures due to increased risk of transmission, the decision has been made now so we can provide clubs with some certainty for the remainder of the season.”

Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, said: “We are very keen to see competitive rugby being played again and have been puushing extremely hard to accelerate a return to contact rugby. 

“However, we also need to be realistic about the prevalence of covid-19 cases in society and, given the introduction of further regional restrictions, we are working with Government to create alternative solutions.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I know that the decision from the RFU will be disappointing to players and fans across the country however protecting people’s health is absolutely paramount.

“The Government is continuing to work closely with the RFU on ways in which we can bring the competitive, community game back in some form ahead of a return to full contact as soon as the public health situation allows.”

Grainger added: “While many people have looked forward to contact rugby returning, we are receiving more and more feedback from clubs and players that adaptations would be acceptable.

“There is an increasing appetite to play an adapted format of rugby rather than having no fixtures at all.

“We will do everything we can to enable the rugby community to return to contact play as soon as we can, but our priority is to keep players, coaches, referees and volunteers safe.

“We will provide an update to our community clubs as soon as we can.”

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