A RUGBY Football Union national roadmap to support a return to activity reveals that the grassroots game could stay as it is for ‘a while’.

The likes of our local clubs Liverpool St Helens, West Park, Ruskin Park and Newton RUFC as well as the town’s schools and colleges will be guided by the recent document release in terms of what can and can’t be done in the sport at this time, following all rugby union activity initially being suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But an easing of some lockdown measures over the past few weeks has opened the door to a restricted return to action based on a six-stage plan concluded by Stage F, when there can be a return to competitive matches against other teams.

Currently the sport is at Stage B which allows six individuals from different households to meet up and engage in individual training.

The two-metre social distancing rule still applies and if a coach is involved they are part of the group of six.

Equipment sharing (including balls) should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practice should be in place before and after.

As physical contact with anyone outside of your house is currently not permitted, playing of any games (small sided or full) is also not allowed.

Parents/carers observing a session at a distance from a safeguarding perspective is permitted, without them being part of the participating group.

While it is permissible for multiple small groups to be engaged in training at the same site, clubs must risk assess this properly and ensure that safe and adequate distancing between groups is strictly observed.

This will be dependent on the activity being undertaken, however the RFU’s guidance would be that no more than one group should be active on each quarter of any pitch.

A move to stage C, in time, would begin to see larger groups being able to train together, such as forwards or backs or age-grade groupings and would likely involve more interactive activity other than simply fitness and conditioning work.

The roadmap focuses on a return to community rugby activity and not the reopening of clubhouses. As these are indoor spaces, they will be subject to separate government advice and guidance.

The current position is that clubs are able to open indoor facilities only to allow access through the building to pitches, access to toilets and a facility (should appropriate licenses be held) for the serving of takeaway food and drinks.