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13 November 2020

Ulster Rugby can confirm that rugby clubs in Northern Ireland can return to non-contact training from Saturday 14 November.

The resumption of non-contact training for rugby clubs in Northern Ireland from Saturday 14 November, which is permitted within current NI Executive regulations, was decided by the province’s Rugby Committee, and endorsed by the Ulster Branch Emergency Committee, yesterday evening.

A measured return to activity this season applies to non-contact training at adult, youth and mini-rugby level – with clubs urged by both Ulster Rugby, and the IRFU, to continue to be vigilant to the risks posed by COVID-19, and to play their part in protecting their members and the wider local community.

All clubs in Northern Ireland planning on making a return to non-contact training from tomorrow (Saturday 14 November) must observe the following guidelines:

  • No member should attend their club if they feel unwell – and all members should follow the COVID-19 preventative measures* at all times, as outlined below.
  • Non-contact training for clubs is limited to a maximum of 15 individuals at club premises at any one time – to include coaches, COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer, parents and players – as guided by current NI Executive regulations and IRFU Guidelines.
  • Only non-contact training in groups, consisting of both coaches and players, of 15 is permissible.
  • An active COVID-19 Club Health & Safety plan, and updated risk assessments on all permitted activity, as set out in the IRFU’s Return To Rugby guidelines, must be in place. A return to training is not permitted without this.
  • A review of this latest directive will be carried out in two weeks’ time – in light of any further updates from the NI Executive. Clubs across the province are reminded they must observe the latest guidelines as issued by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU at all times, which will reflect up-to-date government advice.

Clubs operating in the Republic of Ireland are unaffected by today’s announcement – and can continue to operate within the Level 5 restrictions set out by the Government of Ireland should they choose to.

The announcement last week that the current men’s and women’s adult season plan, and competitive league structure for club rugby in Ulster, is now null and void is unaffected by this latest decision. For further information: https://www.ulsterrugby.com/2020/11/club-rugby-update-from-ulster-rugby/

Although it is not possible at this stage to anticipate what public health measures will be in-place for the remainder of the season, clubs across the province are reminded they must follow Return To Contact protocols at the appropriate time and set out a graded return to reduce injury risk and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission – for a minimum of 14 days, when instructed by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU that this is permitted.

Ulster Rugby and the IRFU will communicate to clubs, as soon as is practicable, when relevant government guidelines across the province permit a resumption of full contact training.

Preventative measures to be observed by all clubs across the province include:

  • No individual should attend their club or take part in a sporting event if unwell, or any members of their household are unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Social distancing, hand hygiene, and good respiratory etiquette remain key practices in lessening the risk of COVID-19 transmission and should be observed by all.
  • Players should only travel alone to training, or with members of the same household.
  • Ongoing completion of the Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration is mandatory for all club members.
  • Download and use the StopCOVID NI or COVID-19 Tracker app.
  • Wear face coverings where appropriate.
  • Observe any travel restrictions in place.