The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has sanctioned the introduction of friendly tag (under 7s and under 8s) and touch rugby matches on a club v club basis for all levels of the game.
The WRU issued guidelines for this next phase of the WRU’s Return to Community Rugby plan during a webinar with more than 300 Club Operations Managers, covering areas such as car travel which should be within household bubbles only, and a framework for touch rugby numbers and rules for this period.
Matches must be arranged between teams and clubs within the same WRU district, and strict safety and hygiene protocols are still a prerequisite for all training sessions and friendly matches.
- pre-match requirements of completing the WRU symptom checker before every training session and match.
- the need for players to turn up to training and games ‘match ready’ in kit and with drinks prepared at home.
- On matchday, players and coaches must respect procedures put in place by the host club, for example with regards to arrival times and routes, and the use of essential facilities only.
- Spectators should not attend the friendly matches and parents attending for safeguarding purposes must adhere to Welsh Government guidelines around social distancing and face coverings.
The move is seen as a hugely positive one as the Union continues to work with Welsh Government towards the re-introduction of contact rugby.
WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “This is extremely good news as far as the whole of Welsh community rugby is concerned. It’s important players can return to an element of friendly competition and gain enjoyment from interacting with other teams and clubs once again, something which is after all, at the core of Welsh community rugby.
“We believe extending touch and tag rugby into match situations will continue to help develop skills and fitness as we move through the return to rugby plan. These are inclusive formats of the game that promote enjoyment and can be played by all. Clubs may choose to integrate male and female players and different age groups, where appropriate. We are grateful for the hard work of our volunteers in getting community rugby back to this stage and will continue to support coaches and other vital club volunteers during this challenging time.”
WRU Operations Director Julie Paterson added, “We are grateful for the cooperation of Welsh Government, Sport Wales, the Welsh Sports Association and our other partners for enabling us to get to this stage and it is vital we stay vigilant and stick to the procedures volunteers have worked hard to put into place within their club environments so that we can proceed further with our return to rugby plan.”
Friendly matches can be arranged between clubs and teams with immediate effect providing they feel they are able to meet the criteria and provide a safe environment for all.