RFU - Return To Competitive Playing for 2020/21 Season

RFU - Return To Competitive Playing for 2020/21 Season

By SSRFC Webmaster
28 June 2020
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The RFU have published adapted community competition plans for adult and age grade rugby in the 2020/21 season.


This article is taken from the England RFU website, and the full article can be found here: Return To Competitive Playing for 2020/21 Season, for reference.

There are a range of 2020/21 competition models that can be applied at different season start dates as and when it is deemed safe to return to play i.e. when we reach Phase F on the RFU Return to Rugby roadmap. The models allow for any potential interruption in the season as a result of Covid-19, while providing clubs, schools, colleges, universities and players with a framework for meaningful competitive rugby with greater flexibility to enable games to be played.

The models were developed by two working groups, one for the adult game and the other for age grade rugby, and the outcomes were approved by the RFU Governance Committee last week. Each group has considered player welfare, flexibility in response to Covid-19, adaptable models that prioritise local matches early in the season to reduce travel, support club revenue, and maintain player participation. Headlines for each area of the game are laid out below with links to further information and FAQs where required.

ADULT MALE AND FEMALE COMPETITIONS
The competition models are based on three potential start windows depending on when it becomes safe to return to play.

The models vary according to league size and offer flexibility to manage any potential Covid-19 interruptions, with the season able to be extended to the end of May if it helps support delivery of a meaningful competition. To further support clubs with flexibility, league rugby will be prioritised over Cup and County Championships.

To best manage the uncertainties around a start date, leagues will be split into conferences from the start of the season i.e. a 14 team league will be split into two groups of 7 teams. In most cases the conferences will be organised geographically to keep travel down to a minimum in the early part of the season, which could also present the opportunity for more revenue generating derby/local fixtures and support player availability. Further details on exact start date windows and how the models will work for different league sizes will be available early next week.

WHAT ARE THE COMPETITION MODELS?
If rugby starts in Window 1: Local competitions first, home and away competitions last

· Teams play home and away in their group - in a 14-team league separated into two groups of seven, teams play 12 fixtures.
· Upon completion of these 12 fixtures, teams play home and away against teams in the other group, meaning teams play a further 14 fixtures (26 fixtures in total).
· The league winner will be the team with the best playing record from all league fixtures.
· NCA teams ONLY – a full regular season of home and away fixtures will be delivered.

If rugby starts in Window 2: Local competitions first, home or away fixtures last

· Teams play home and away in their group - in a 14-team league separated into two groups of seven, teams play 12 fixtures.
· Upon completion of these 12 fixtures teams will play home OR away against teams in the other group, meaning team play a further 7 fixtures (19 fixtures in total).
· The league winner will be the team with the best playing record from fixtures played in both groups.
· NCA teams ONLY – a full round of home or away fixtures will be delivered (15 fixtures). At this point the league will be separated into two groups of 8. Teams in the top 8 league positions go into one group and the next 8 teams go into another group. From here, teams play each other home OR away in their group, thus a further 7 fixtures (22 fixtures in total).

If rugby starts in Window 3: Local competitions only, a final playoff

· Teams play home and away in their group - in a 14-team league separated into two groups of 7, teams play 12 fixtures.
· There will be a playoff game between the group winners to determine the league winner.
· NCA teams ONLY - a full round of home or away fixtures will be delivered (15 fixtures) – the league winner would be decided by the results of these fixtures.

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