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Coronavirus Update 

Durham County RFU is here to support you through your return to rugby journey during this strange time. All the information you need, you will find below:

The RFU have a number of contact email addresses with regards to any queries from clubs/coaches:

Club Support:


Player Welfare:

RFU Website


RFU Roadmap




Information on Travel - 2020 Update

Following the RFU and Government guidance regarding the return of community rugby, we have received an update from DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) on the issue of travel within and between Tier 3 areas:


Currently the majority of the North East is in the Tier 3 category. This is split into two distinct areas:


• North East Combined Authority (Tier 3)

Consists of the seven councils: County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.


• Tees Valley Combined Authority (Tier 3)

The five local authorities of Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.


Government regulations state that there should be no travel outside of or between Tier 3 Combined Authority areas.


Therefore, clubs and individuals can travel and play within their Combined Authority Tier 3 area, but they cannot travel to another Tier 3 Combined Authority area to play rugby.


For example, if you live in County Durham, you are free to travel to Northumberland to play rugby because both locations are in the same Combined Authority area.


However, if you live in Hartlepool, you cannot travel to County Durham to play because this would mean you are travelling between Tees Valley Combined Authority and the North East Combined Authority.


This will clearly have implication for some clubs and individuals who play/reside across the different Tier 3 areas and you should ensure you fully understand and comply with the travel restrictions for your own circumstances.



Travel is permitted where it is necessary to enable sport for disabled people, sport for educational purposes, or supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, to take place, but should still be minimised and kept to short distances only.


Further information


More details can be found on our Coronavirus Hub.


FAQs can be found here and will continue to be updated.


Latest UK Government Guidance can be found here.


Rugby Activity


We are now at Stage E on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.


Summary of law variations can be found here.


Return to Play webinar support can be found below:


Stage E - U7-U13

Stage E - U14-U18

Stage E - Adult

Return to Rugby December 2020 

Following Thursday’s tier announcement, we know clubs have a number of questions to address and we want to reassure you that we are working hard with Government. 


As you will appreciate, the return to grassroots sport in the covid landscape is a complex and fast-moving world for Government to manage. We will continue to support their efforts to provide clarity for clubs as quickly as possible.


As soon as we are in a position to do so, we will provide Clubs and CBs with on field and off field guidance for each tier, so you are confident about returning to play safely and excited about rugby restarting.


Guidance for each tier will include:

• Which stage on The Return to Community Rugby Roadmap clubs will be able to play.

• Equipment that will be permitted.

• Facilities guidance (for clubhouses, bars, changing rooms, showers, toilets)

• Travel implications

• Spectators management

• Group mixing rules


Until Wednesday 2 December, we remain in national lockdown and at Stage A on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap. This means that no competitive or formal rugby activities can be undertaken.


Please keep an eye out for communications in the coming days. We will share an update with you as soon as we have received and interpreted Government guidance around sporting facilities, so that we can provide clarity on what it means for clubs in each area.

September 2020 Update 3 

As many of you will have seen the RFU have announced that from the 1st September that the Return to rugby will enter stage D. This stage now allows for minimal contact in the sessions! As well as inter club Ready4Rugby Touch games.


All of the information can be found in the via the following links:


Key points with regards to limited and adapted contact are as follows via the booklet and the key points below:


Contact in groups of a maximum of 6 for a maximum of 15 minutes per session.



Tackles at the waist or below only. 

1 v 1 tackles only. 

Small group activity, preferably with players working in pairs for the entire activity. 

Use of tackle bags, shields and pads that are cleaned and sanitized after each player use. No upright tackles. 

No tackling above the waist including trying to hold the ball carrier up or prevent an offload. 

No team game play activity. 

No equipment such as tackle pads, bags and shields to be used by multiple people without cleaning and sanitizing.

Coaches must NOT hold pads or shields or bags for age grade players. 



Maximum 2 v 2 players in a ruck (ball carrier and tackler, plus 1 v 1 on their feet over the ball). 

No team game play activity



Unopposed lineout drills. 

 Lifting of a jumper (under 16 and above only). 

Ball thrown to a catcher. 

Reduce the time the front lifter and a jumper are face to face in lineout set up to under 3 seconds. 

No opposed jumping.

No maul to be formed after ball secured.




No scrum practice allowed, including use of scrum machines, sleds and unit practice. 




No maul practice activity allowed, including from a lineout


Please can I ask that clubs now amend their risk assessments and then send out to coaches and players.

I have had a number of emails and questions with regards to group sizes. Groups still remain at a max of 20 on a minimum of half a pitch. The small contact groups of no more than 6, must come from within this 20.


Stage D in simple terms is Stage C with a 15 minute contact session attached.

As always if you have any questions please just ask.


August 2020 Update 2

RugbySafe Lead Update – Chris Simpson

With regards to pitch sizes, clubs are encouraged to use and apply common sense as long as it is in line with RFU guidance. i.e Max groups of 20, on a minimum of half a pitch.

Clubs are reminded that they are responsible for their coaches ensuring that they follow RFU procedures in line with the RFU’s Return to Rugby plan.

If there are any serious offences, we have been asked to pass the following on:

It is essential that clubs follow this guidance. Non-compliance puts clubs and coaches in breach of government policy and RFU guidance and could invalidate insurance. Clubs must also follow any local government lockdown restrictions that may be implemented.
If a CB or the RFU are made aware of any breach then charges under Rule 5.12 will be considered against the Coach responsible for the session and/or the Club itself!

With regards to localised lockdowns if this occurs, any training must be suspended as this is above any RFU guidance, so contacting you LA would be appropriate.

I appreciate that we are in difficult times and that every club is at different stages in terms of the above, but I would like to thank you all for your hard work. I know that coaches are keen to get back to normal as soon as possible, when in my own opinion I feel there will be no league rugby until at least Mid-October, clubs need to ensure that all coaches are aware of the above.

If Paul and I can support anyone in the meantime please get in touch.

August 2020 Update 1

RugbySafe Lead Update – Chris Simpson

The news we have all been waiting for has finally arrived this morning. 

The RFU have announced that we have now moved on to Stage C of Return to Rugby. From my understanding, the group sizes can now be up to 20 and we can now play touch!

All of the information can be found via the links below:

Can I please ask that all clubs amend their Risk Assessments and share with players and parents. For example at Houghton the sessions will now be 45 minutes long instead of the previous 30, and with groups of up to 20.

Also for anyone not following the RugbySafe Area6 Twitter and Facebook pages, please give them a follow as the information sent out is posted there first!

Any further questions please just ask.

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