Plans have been revealed for the first WRU-organised community rugby competitions since all rugby was suspended due to COVID-19 in March 2020.
The first senior, 15-a-side competitions for male and female senior players, played under modified Laws to reduce contact in the scrum and maul, are set to run from August to December, as per the WRU’s Pathway to Participation published in March.
The competitions will each take the form of Pool rounds based around local geography followed by an open knock-out phase.
In the male game there will be an Indigo Group Premiership Cup and Championship Cup along with a Plate, Bowl and Shield for National League clubs while in the female game, WRU National Senior Female Clubs will compete in a North Wales Cup, South Wales Cup and South Wales Plate along the same lines.
OTHER KEY POINTS:
- The 15-a-side competitions will kick off from August 7 for senior male competitions following six weeks of club v club sevens and 10-a-side rugby beginning on June 14 and following two weeks when clubs could choose to play 15-a-side friendly matches under the agreed modified laws (from Saturday, July 24).
- The female Cup competitions will kick off in September.
- District-level competitions will be sanctioned for clubs once knocked out of the national competitions
- The youth age band for next season (from Saturday 24 July) is Under 18 on August 31 2021 to align with the Welsh Government’s strategy.
- The detailed structure of Youth competitions, 2nd XV competitions and additional Female competitions will be communicated in due course.
- Support for coaches will be available on the WRU Gamelocker
- Players and support staff will continue to be required to complete the COVID symptom checker on the Gamelocker ahead of every match and training session and follow all Welsh Government guidelines on all areas such as facilities, spectators and social distancing.
A FRAMEWORK FOR PARTICIPATION
WRU Chair Rob Butcher said, “We are thrilled to be able to announce these plans as we move further towards returning to the full game safely.
“On behalf of the WRU Community Board, and WRU Board, we felt that the structure of these competitions and the modified Laws will provide a framework for participation in the grassroots game.
“As we look forward to matches at this level, it’s important that Welsh Government guidelines and our rugby values remain at the heart of everything we do.”
WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “We want to encourage as many male and female players as possible of all ages and abilities to return to enjoying the game of rugby and we believe the format of these 15-a-side competitions, along with the forthcoming 7 and 10-a-side competitive block, will help achieve that while progressing towards League rugby.
“We have all missed competitive rugby and along with coaching support, the modified Laws for all formats minimise close contact initially and help us to work towards full contact rugby safely.”
Operations Director Julie Paterson said:“We are indebted to our volunteers, staff and partners for the huge amount of work put in to get facilities and teams to this stage.
“This competition structure aligns to Welsh Government strategy of minimising travel during the initial phase where there is an emphasis on enjoyment and local derbies.
“We will continue to work closely with Club Operations Managers to ensure they have all the support needed over the coming months.