The IRFU have announced that they are reviewing the Club Competitions Season Outline as clubs prepare for the hoped return to action in January.
Stage 1 of the plan was to play the Energia Community Series from September to Christmas, but competition, which saw teams compete only against other clubs in their province was suspended last month after Ireland went into Level 3 restrictions and further restrictions were implemented in the North.
Under Stage 2 of the guidelines, clubs may resume matches from January 9 at the earliest. However, teams must be back at training for 14 days prior to the first match to ensure "contact readiness".
Other factors brought into consideration are:
- Continued government guidance that field sports are allowed
- Continued low presence of Covid-19 in the community
- Lack of clusters or any other resurgence of the virus
- Willingness of players to participate in an expanded competition
An update to the status of Stage 2 of the 2020/21 season is expected in the coming days and Chair of IRFU Rugby Committee, Greg Barrett, has told clubs the Union will remain "flexible".
“Training is a valuable outlet for skill development and health, including mental health, but games are what field sports are all about," he said. "If there is a chance for games to be played, we will want to play them in line with government guidelines.
“This season was always going to be different. We will continue to be flexible with our season plan and we are asking clubs to stay the course.