To all Hampshire Clubs


You will have seen the disappointing, yet inevitable news, that the 20/21 Adult (Men’s and Women’s) League programme is cancelled.  As Chair of the RFU Group charged with reviewing the impact of COVID on the Adult League programme and your representative on the RFU I wanted to provide you with more background to this difficult decision.


We had already restructured the fixture list into league clusters to give us a chance of playing, at least, an abbreviated league season and this would have been the preferred option for a post Xmas start.  However, with the impact of regional lockdowns, uncertainty around which Tier clubs will be, reluctance of players and clubs to travel significant distances it was agreed by the group that the integrity of a league competition pyramid with promotion and relegation would be compromised.


We have been planning with the Divisional Organising Committees, a number of options for a competitive programme, if we are allowed to play some variant of contact rugby.  This will involve local league clusters, with clubs allocated into local micro leagues, that broadly mirror the existing clusters at Levels 7 and below.  HRFU Comps committee will be fully involved in that process with the DOC and I’m sure will be open to creative and innovative ideas that get our clubs and players re-engaged at some point in the New Year.


Please be assured that we are doing everything possible with the DCMS/PHE/HMGovt to find a way through this impasse but with a further National Lockdown anticipated that is not an easy win as I’m sure you appreciate.


There are additional challenges for the Age Group game, and I would certainly appreciate your input so that I can represent your views and concerns at the RFU through the various virtual meetings I’m involved in.


I have RFU Comps meetings on Monday and Tuesday next week, where we hope to finalise some options from Levels 3 to 12 and also review the necessity and appropriateness of the Competitions regulations as drafted. 


Please feel free to e mail me or phone over the weekend.



Terry Burwell | RFU Council Member, Hampshire

Chair, RFU Adult Competitions Management Sub-Committee

T: 07710472824     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“The RFU Council has today made the difficult decision to cancel the Adult Competitive Leagues (Level 3 and below for Men, Level 2 and below for Women) for the 2020/21 season. 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.
The Championship remains on course to start in January 2021, with this league subject to Government’s Elite Return to Play protocols.
What rugby can we play?
We have been in daily contact with Government about moving towards some form of contact rugby that will enable as many matches to take place as possible.
Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director, said; “We are very keen to see competitive rugby being played again and have been pushing 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.
“Progress has been made following productive conversations with DCMS and the Office of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer who have shown a willingness to work with the RFU to explore other available options.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "I know that today's 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."
Steve 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 matches 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. We would like to once again thank everyone for their incredible efforts in implementing the necessary changes and for their continued support in keeping formats of rugby going during this challenging season.”
For the current time we remain at Stage D on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.”
See below for the trials Flyer for the ACE 2021-22 season.
NOTE it is for September 2021 so aimed at this years U16/Year 11 cohort.
To register use this link http://www.bit.ly/3jd5O60
Any questions please email - Richard Pryor - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ACE Flyer small
Distribution list: Tuesday 27 October

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update
In today’s edition, we provide advice and tips on Return4Rugby, Sport England funding and affected areas in the Covid-19 tier system and take the opportunity to look at the origins of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’

With regard to showing the Quilter Internationals 2020, part of the Autumn Nations Cup, Amazon has managed to secure a solution for pubs and clubs which we will be communicating with the game shortly once Amazon have finalised the detail. In the meantime, England v Ireland on Saturday 21 November will be shown on Channel 4, which will be available to any club who has a TV license.

We will also be shortly announcing the broadcaster for both fixtures in the Women’s Autumn Internationals as England face France.

We are constantly working with Government to return to rugby but, as a reminder, we are still at Stage D on the Roadmap, and RFU guidance, as well as Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidelines, must be followed. Local restriction powers lie with their local authorities and clubs need to check the latest position, as restrictions may change frequently over the coming weeks.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access coronavirus information and resources.

Past editions of these weekly updates can be found on the website.
RFU Headlines
Return4Rugby advice
Below we have tips and guidance for training. However, as we start to see matches take place there continues to be a real need to keep players safe. Any foul play incidents resulting in a red card will still involve the club adhering to the normal disciplinary process, including letting their CB know and arranging a club disciplinary hearing.

We have some ideas and tips for those delivering rugby in education and the age grade game, including some session plans and guidance on how to enthuse, support and stretch your players.
Other important updates
Sport England Return to Play Fund
Sport England have launched a new £16.5 million fund to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations, including rugby clubs, who have been impacted by restrictions. This will be split into three strands, Small Grants, Community Asset Funds and Active Together. You can find out if your club is eligible for support via the link below.
Sport England Fund
Revised local lockdown restrictions
We are advised that unless local restrictions specifically mention restrictions on team sports and/or rugby, clubs should follow the NGB guidelines. In all cases, clubs must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

Clubs can check what local restrictions are in place in their area.

Tier 1 - Medium:

Current nationwide rules will apply to areas in this tier. With regards to sporting activities in tier 1, exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of six is followed.

Tier 2 – High:

In tier 2, exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with, or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport.

Tier 3 – Very High:

Sporting activities in tier 3 are the same as tier 2 areas, although additional measures agreed with local authorities could include the closing of venues such as leisure centres and gyms, while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity.

With Covid-19 rates rising, keeping players, coaches and support staff safe is vital. Our Club Hub offers PPE to support the game. Find out how to register and see the product guide.

We will provide an update to the game if there is any change in guidance to playing rugby union. You can read more information about what you need to know about the Government’s local Covid-19 alert levels.
Rule Of Six
Area Tier Info
Test and trace and handling of Covid-19 positive tests
Clubs are reminded of the need to have a Test & Trace system in place. You can find out more about NHS Test & Trace below, or read about Howdens Test and Trace here.

In the event of positive tests occuring within a club, including retrospective cases, each case should be registered via the Positive Test Notification Form, which can be accessed on the link below. This information is requested to allow us to monitor the number of confirmed positive Covid-19 tests occurring in clubs and to ensure that clubs have the appropriate support.
NHS Test & Trace
Notification Form
Webinars and Podcasts
Watch Sarah Hunter with Irwin Mitchell's Mentoring Club below, as well as the lastest episode of the England Rugby Podcast: O2 Inside Line.

You can see all our previous CoachingRefereeing, and Club webinars online.
O2 Inside Line



Sarah Hunter
The Story of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'
This week saw the release of the educational documentary on the origins of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'.

It explains the story and the meaning behind the song, describes how it became associated with rugby, reflects on the views of players past and present and allows fans to make up their own minds about its use.
Swing Low
Rugby community
Today we are asking you to vote for two inspiring women, Kate Nicholls of Witney Rugby Club and Zainab Alema of Barnes RFC, both shortlisted for The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year 2020.

Alongside this, Dom Palacio and Richmond Rugby are supplying local children with free school meals during half-term.

In addition to clubs helping their communities, we are now highlighting on englandrugby.com clubs’ self-help initiatives, as well as activities to improve diversity and inclusion at clubs and stories from around the game.

Please share your stories and videos with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Inspiring Women
Free School Meals

Sad news coming from Havant RFC today, Steve Allen a former player has passed away...




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