Women edge closer to return with training boost
Elite women’s rugby moved a step closer to returning after the Rugby Football Union gave the go-ahead for clubs to start stage-two training.
It means teams in the Premier 15s can now train in small groups with limited contact and reduced faceto-face exposure.
The RFU has yet to announce a start date for the 2020-21 Premier 15s season and, with World Rugby having set aside an international window from late October until early December to complete the rescheduled Women’s Six Nations fixtures, restarting the elite female game this calendar year would appear problematic.
In previous iterations of the league, the season has been paused during major tournaments to maintain its integrity.
The cost of testing players for coronavirus, which clubs are not permitted to do under stage-two training, was thought to be one of the barriers for the RFU in trying to restart the women’s domestic game.
Clubs are, however, required to carry out temperature checks on players and will have to follow strict distancing protocols for warm-ups and a reduction in time spent on preparing for set-pieces.
The elite women’s game sits separately from the community return to play and is being managed in accordance with the Government’s elite performance guidance.
The 2019-20 Premier 15s season was ended prematurely in March, before being declared null and void the following month.