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Coronavirus (Covid-19) update
Two stories relevant to CBs were not included in the version of the Community Game Update you received yesterday. Please see below for stories relating to Mitsubishi Motors Rugby Leadership Networks and an update on Club Accreditation for your reference.

Many thanks and we wish you a Happy Christmas.

This week’s headlines include:
1. Return to Play Q&A with Eddie Jones, Bill Sweeney and Steve Grainger
2. Positive Test Guidance under Stage E

Other Updates
3. Cluster Competitions update
4. Mitsubishi Motors Rugby Leadership Networks
5. Community Sevens Tournaments in 2021
6. Update on Club Accreditation
7. Webinars and podcasts
8. Physical and mental wellbeing
9. Schools Kitbag

In this final Community Game Update of 2020, a massive thank you to you all for going above and beyond to keep your clubs and teams going during the toughest of challenges for the game. Your support of rugby communities will never be forgotten and we hope 2021 brings everything you deserve for keeping rugby afloat. On behalf of everyone at the RFU we wish you a happy, healthy Christmas and New Year.

If you are playing matches over the festive period in Tiers 1, 2 or 3, enjoy being back in your teams and have fun on the pitch, while making sure you adhere to the Stage E law adaptations and Government and RFU Covid-19 guidance to keep everyone safe.

For the avoidance of doubt, adult community rugby is not permitted in Tier 4 areas. The Government’s Tier 4 guidance states organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed. The Government’s guidelines on travel between tiers should be adhered to. These players cannot move in or out of Tier 4 to train or play.

Guidance and FAQs can be found on the pages below. Please remember, there is no obligation to play 15-a-side fixtures in permitted Tiers. Clubs can still play Ready4Rugby if they prefer.
Coronavirus Resources
RFU Headlines
Return to Play webinar with Eddie Jones, Bill Sweeney and Steve Grainger
England Head Coach Eddie Jones joined us on Monday for this week's live Q&A to share coaching tips around the new adaptations and how to keep all players engaged during these times. RFU Chief Executive Officer Bill Sweeney and RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger gave an update on ongoing work in support of the community game.
Watch Video
Positive Test Guidance under Stage E
Using the Team Sport Risk Assessment Framework, our nationally agreed position with Government and PHE (as part of approval for return to Stage E on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap) is that, should there be a positive test from a player/referee there is no routine need for other players/referees on the field of play to self-isolate, as long as there has been no deviation from Stage E protocols (and referees have not been involved in direct face-to-face conversations within 1 metre for more than 3 seconds with players) and that all other relevant protocols on changing, travel etc have been followed.

The same is true for coaches, if they have not been involved in direct face-to-face conversations within 1 metre for more than 3 seconds with any other individuals returning a positive test during rugby training and match activities.

However, local public health officials do have the powers to insist on self-isolation based on the context at that time in the local community. This is the same in rugby as for other sports and the same for sport as in other aspects of community life – e.g. pubs (where open), schools etc.

The determination of close contacts and requirements for isolation for all non-rugby training and match activities follows standard Government guidance.

**A positive test is one confirmed via an NHS approved swab test. For more information go to the Government Get Coronavirus Test page.
Read More
Other important updates
Cluster Competitions
In light of Government’s announcement over the weekend of new restrictions on travel and participation in adult grassroots sport for many areas, the publication of the Cluster fixtures planned for today, 22 December, will be held over until early in the New Year.

This pause will allow the Adult Competition Management Sub Committee to take on board the very latest Government guidance, which is due on 30 December, before finalising the fixture schedule.

We are keen for rugby communities who wish to play to have this opportunity and hope it will still be possible for clubs in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 to commence Cluster Competitions as planned on 23 and 24 January. However, we will need to take Government guidance following their review.

Our next communication will be in the Community Game Update on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

Teams in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, may still organise local friendlies ahead of the Cluster fixtures being confirmed, as long as they are within Tier & Area parameters, follow Stage E law adaptations and adhere to RFU and Government Covid-19 guidance.

A number of queries have been received about whether CBs can and should be cancelling rugby activity. If the rugby activity is organised by the CBs (such as a county representative programme), the decision as to whether such activity should continue or not rests with the CB. This is in the same way that organisers of rugby activity can decide in their own discretion as to whether activity should go ahead, provided that such activity remains permitted by the RFU and Government.

However, for rugby activity which is not organised by the CB, clubs and players can continue to participate in such rugby activity provided it has not been cancelled or postponed by the RFU and/or Government.
Mitsubishi Motors Rugby Leadership Networks
Mitsubishi Motors have been huge supporters of the community game over the last four years via the MM Volunteer Recognition Programme. During the current pandemic, we have negotiated with Mitsubishi Motors to repurpose some of their funding to support Volunteer Leadership training as most of the normal recognition events have been unable to run. The importance of a well-managed community game is ever more important to help steer clubs through these challenging times and beyond. Therefore, in January 2021 we are launching the online Mitsubishi Motors Rugby Leadership Network Programme scheduled to take place between March and June 2021.

Access will be by application and we aim to run four Area network programmes, as well as a specific national network to support the women’s and girls’ game. To ensure a quality learning environment, the aim is to have a maximum of 25 delegates on each course. We are keen to work with CB colleagues to ensure that the right candidates are encouraged to apply. Further information will be available in January.
Community Sevens tournaments in 2021
Sevens tournaments are an excellent playing opportunity for the rugby community, particularly in the spring and summer months.

We’d encourage clubs to start preparing now, to make sure everyone’s ready to embrace the opportunities when the sun finally starts to shine next year.

Naturally, we must all follow the Return to Community Rugby guidance and all off-field Government guidance relating to Covid-19.

If you are looking to run an event, it must follow the current guidelines related to travel, spectators, hospitality and facilities, found by visiting our Coronavirus Hub or the RFU Helpdesk FAQs.

The RFU supports any requests for tournaments in principle. However, to secure approval, tournaments and rugby activity must comply with RFU Regulation 10 and all RFU protocols and Government guidance in operation at the time of the event. Please contact your CB directly for approval.

Events must be played in accordance with the Laws of the Game (including variations) as permitted by the RFU and Government at the relevant time.

Unfortunately, due to the current climate, the RFU can no longer provide funding or support as it previously did through the England Rugby Sevens Series nor accept any financial liability should costs be incurred and future restrictions to activity be put in place.
Support Centre
Update on Club Accreditation
In this transition year 20/21 we are extending the tenure of all Club Accreditations for a further 12 months. Club Accreditation has been a popular and valued development tool used by many clubs over a number of years. It has helped clubs to self-review their operations and has been used to strengthen clubs and grow the game in communities around them. Club Accreditation was suspended in March 2020, when the country went into lockdown and the majority of the development team were furloughed.

During the first part of 2021, we will undertake a review of the scheme to ensure that it continues to meet clubs’ needs and is aligned to the Project Union strategy. Part of the review will also investigate how in the future, Club Accreditation can be resourced and supported appropriately.
Webinars and Podcasts
Our Female Match Official Webinar, See It, Be It, Ref It, took place earlier this year for women and girls potentially interested in refereeing. Missed it? You can catch up here - click on the link below to register and Watch on demand.

Return to Play Webinar support for coaches and referees is available below:

Webinar Community Game Law Variations
eLearning Community Game Law Variations

Stage E - U7-U13
Stage E - U14-U18
Stage E - Adult

We also have on-demand webinars that look at schools and college updates, established schools forum and preparing players for a return to rugby. Watch now.

You can see all our previous CoachingRefereeing, and Club webinars online.
Physical and mental wellbeing
The Christmas period may see some of us isolated, increasing the importance of talking to friends and family about physical and mental wellbeing.

Former England captain Dylan Hartley, World Cup winner Heather Fisher and the John brothers from amateur club Old Cooperians RFC talk about healthy minds and bodies in SimplyHealth’s RuggerBox.
Watch Ruggerbox
Return to Rugby Kitbag for Schools, Colleges and Universities
The education sector will be working hard to make sure rugby can be played on the return in January and we are pleased to confirm that the Kitbag has been updated for Stage E. Please access this through the link below.