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Distribution list: Tuesday 11 August

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update
Please find below the thirty-fifth edition of our coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

We have provided an update on the return to community rugby following a move to Stage C on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap and advice for clubs in local lockdown areas .

We have also announced two weekends of celebration in September – the NatWest Rugby Force Weekend on the 5th/6th, and the Pitch Up for Rugby Weekend on the 12th/13th.

There’s also a call for the rugby community to take part in our Diversity and Inclusion Survey.

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

Past editions of these weekly updates can be found on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.
RFU headlines
Update on the return to community rugby
Last Saturday we announced a positive step forward on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap, which has been updated to move from Stage B to Stage C.

Our roadmap was first published ahead of the Government releasing its framework for return to recreational team sport. When that Government guidance was issued there was a requirement to provide a detailed assessment of exposure risk through face to face contact across both contact and non-contact rugby together with evidence of mitigations put in place to allow for safe return in some format of the game. The latest roadmap reflects those discussions and provides further guidance to clubs on acceptable rugby activity within Stage C, as defined

The fact based medical assessment highlighted a significantly increased risk in transmission when playing full-contact rugby and therefore any form of contact rugby is still NOT permitted. Premiership Rugby will return this week but they are operating under Elite Sporting Guidance and strict Covid-19 testing regimes.

In order to move from group training in teams of six, we undertook an extensive process of submitting detailed fact based medical proposals to be scrutinised by the Government - including DCMS, Public Health England and N0 10. These proposals were approved last week and clubs can now play Ready4Rugby. Subject to satisfactory operation through August we hope to be able to move to inter-club Ready4Rugby in September. Other Touch Rugby activity (including O2 Touch centres) will also be able to recommence.

The introduction of these options is in addition to non-contact skills based group activity, carried out following the Government’s social distancing guidelines, which clubs would normally develop as part of their pre-season training. Guidance on acceptable training activity is provided in the Guidance on Restarting Competitive Grassroots Rugby, and also in this on-demand webinar. We would encourage coaches and clubs to share their best practice with others.

We are continuing to undertake detailed analysis on potential adaptations to the key high risk contact areas in the game, and will be seeking Government approval to bring back contact training when it is deemed safe to do so. We will keep you informed on this, in the meantime.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on their experience of Ready4Rugby. We are now calling on clubs to send in videos of their players engaging in Ready4Rugby activities to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and/or post the videos on their social media channels using #Ready4Rugby. Please ensure anything you post on social media reflect fully the approved format of the game.
Local lockdown guidelines
As more areas of the country are entering local lockdowns, clubs are reminded that the powers around local restrictions lie with local authorities. Clubs may need to limit their activities in line with any local restrictions and are advised to consult with the local authority in which their facilities are located should they be in any doubt.
Future Competitions Structure – CB opportunity
The Future Competitions Structure Group (FCS) are preparing a Recommendation Paper that will be shared with the Game (including CBs) on Friday 14 August.

We would also like to offer CBs the opportunity to speak directly with members of the FCS Group about the proposed recommendations to the adult male competitions structure (English Club Championships Level 3 and below).

CBs can sign up to one of ten sessions via an invitation which will be sent by email direct to the CB Honorary Secretary. The sessions will provide an opportunity for CB officials to ask questions and discuss the proposed changes. The sessions dates will take place on the following dates in August:

- 19th: 7pm
- 20th: 3pm and 7pm
- 21st: 3pm
- 24th: 3pm and 7pm
- 25th: 3pm and 7pm
- 27th: 3pm and 7pm
Rugby is back - we call on clubs across the country to join the celebrations
The rugby community is now able to recommence some larger group rugby activity, initially non-contact, subject to adherence with RFU guidance and also continuing to follow Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidelines, together with any local government lockdown restrictions that may be implemented.

With the move to Stage C on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap confirmed, there will be two weekends of celebration in September.

NatWest Rugbyforce will kick things off on September 5 and 6, enabling over 800 clubs to make improvements to their facilities. Now in its 12th year, a record number of clubs are getting involved with the nationwide initiative developed with the RFU. With the programme now able to return safely, NatWest is offering more support for the rugby community than ever before. Grants awarded to clubs have ranged from £500 to £3,000 to help clubs remain sustainable for longer in these challenging times.

Just a week later, we are calling on communities to ‘Pitch Up for Rugby’ and join their local clubs during the weekend of September 12 and 13. There will be action back on the pitch in the form of touch and Ready4Rugby, the new non-contact game which enables two teams of up to 10 players to engage in match activity.

Click below for guidance and information on the NatWest Rugby Force and Pitch Up for Rugby weekends.
More Information
We want to hear your views about Diversity and Inclusion
Our sport is founded on inclusion and being open to all and we want rugby to reflect the diversity of society. We acknowledge that there are many great examples of inclusivity in our sport, but we believe that overall there is more we should be doing.

We are committed to a step change in tackling diversity and inclusion. As part of this, we are conducting a survey among our stakeholders as we really want to listen and hear your views and experiences. We want to understand what is already working, what we need to do to accelerate change and how we can do that. Your input is invaluable to help us achieve this.

We will be using the findings from our survey to inform the development of a new Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which will be published in the autumn. We know this is not a quick fix, this is the start of a continual drive to ensure our sport is open to all.

If you haven’t already done so, we’d really appreciate you taking some time to complete the survey, as well as sharing it with other members of your club or constituency.
Take Survey
Other important updates
Webinars: Volunteers and law & zero hour contracts - Thursday 13 August 7pm - 8pm
This webinar run by our legal partner, Irwin Mitchell, will cover the key legal issues in relation to volunteers and those engaged on zero hour contracts at your club.

Register now for the webinar and you will be automatically entered into a competition to win a signed England Rugby shirt.
Eddie Jones’ webinar series - Leading High Performing and Effective Rugby Environments in the Adult Game
We would like to invite you to join Eddie Jones, England Head Coach, Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO, Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director and John Inverdale, the newly appointed Chairman of the NCA and a RFU Council member, on one the following webinars, which have been organised for the community game – just click on the date to register:

17 August 7-8pm NCA Level 3/4
24 August 7-8pm Level 5/6
26 August 7-8 pm Level 7-12

Eddie will chat to John about his experiences in managing and adapting to change and how to stay ahead of the game.

The invitation is for the roles of Club Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers, coaches and players’ representatives at clubs at level seven and below. Given the level of interest in the webinar we ask that there are no more than five representatives from each club.

Once all the events have taken place, an on demand version will be made available on englandrugby.com.

Places are limited so please book early.
Making Pitch In & Pitch Up a success - Thursday 20 August 7pm-8pm
This webinar will provide advice and tips on making both the NatWest Rugby Force and Pitch Up for Rugby weekends a success.
Catch up on previous webinars
For those who want to catch up on previous webinars, these are available on the England Rugby website. Please click on the links below:

Club Webinars
Referee Webinars
Coach Webinars
Other important news
World Rugby Transgender Proposal
The RFU has been contacted by World Rugby as part of their consultation on transgender rugby players. We are currently carrying out a detailed review of the proposals and evidence put forward by World Rugby in order to determine the RFU’s response to the consultation.
Rugby community doing great things
Today we thank Grasshoppers RFC for getting involved at the last minute to help us launch the Ready4Rugby event at Twickenham early Saturday morning. From Chair to coaches, players and parents/carers, all made a valuable contribution to helping the event run successfully. Click here to watch their involvement.

Players who have piled on some weight during lockdown and want to get fit again for the fast, new, non-contact rugby may want to sign up to an initiative launched by Old Albanians and raise money for charities which include the RFU Injured Players Foundation. The original Calorie Challenge was such a success that the club ran another and rolled it out to other clubs, and you can find out more below.

Northallerton Rugby Club in North Yorkshire lies in an area where tourism has suffered during lockdown and where a rugby club is a much needed part of the local community. You can see how they've been helping out below.
Calorie Challenge
Northallerton RFC
In addition to clubs helping their communities, we are now highlighting clubs’ self-help initiatives, as well as activities being undertaken to improve diversity and inclusion at clubs, on englandrugby.com.

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK are proud supporters of the rugby volunteers across England who make up an integral part of the game. Help us recognise your work by sharing your club and individual 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..

Click below to find out more about the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme.
Recognition Programme