17 Jul '21

Return Dates for Full Contact Rugby

Breaking News – Return dates for full contact rugby

Clubs can re-instate scrums and mauls in training from Monday 19 July and in matches from, and not before, Saturday 7 August. The new season is set to start as normal for the whole community game.  

We are thrilled that clubs and players will be able to return to full contact rugby. As always, player welfare is our main priority and we need to manage the return to scrums and mauls as safely as possible. Read on for the step-by-step plan.  Return to RugbyThis edition includes:
1. Adult Rugby Roadmap – return to full contact friendly matches from Saturday 7 August for clubs that wish
2. Age Grade Rugby – Summer Activity Guide continuation – adapted contact laws in friendlies from Saturday 7 August
3. Key priorities for clubs and coaches including scrummaging guides
4. Off-field guidance from 19 July
5. Pitch Up For Rugby – 50 days to go promotion
6. Warrior Camps – bring new players to your club
7. News round-up
8. Webinars and on-demand  Adult Rugby Roadmap – return to full contact datesWhen can clubs return to full contact rugby? (10s and 15-a-side)

We have carefully considered the preparation period required after a long lay-off. We have taken advice from medics, coaches, directors of rugby and players within the community game to create the below pathway:

Adult Rugby

The updated rugby roadmap for adult rugby is here

Monday 19 July 

Scrums and mauls can be re-instated in training only.

A minimum 3-week preparation period of training sessions follows ahead of match play.

Coaches are reminded that they are responsible for working with all players to assess their physical readiness and technical competence before returning to scrummaging. Players may be at different levels of fitness and conditioning. See below guidance for returning to scrummaging safely.

Coaches must be satisfied that players have undertaken sufficient technical preparation, skill refinement and reconditioning work before returning to full contact match play.

Internal training games are allowed between Monday 19 July and Saturday 7 August. Training games should include an incremental approach to scrummaging and coaches should rotate players every 20 minutes. Clubs should not return to match intensity full contact 15 a-side training games immediately.

Saturday 7 August

Full contact 15-a-side and 10-a-side rugby matches, with scrums and mauls, may resume against other clubs from, and not before, Saturday 7 August.

It is the choice of clubs and players whether they wish to compete in full contact matches from Saturday 7 August. There is no pressure to do so.

Teams that do not yet feel ready for full contact 15s have the option of playing 7s, 10s, XRugby or 15-a-side rugby with uncontested scrums. 

Saturday 4 September

Full contact 15-a-side league rugby commences for Men’s Levels 3 and 4, and for 14-team men’s leagues in Levels 5 and below.

Saturday 18 September 

Full contact 15-a-side league rugby commences for 12 and 10 league men’s teams in London & SE.

Saturday 25 September

Full contact 15-a-side league rugby commences for 12 and 10 league men’s teams in North, Midlands & SW.

25/26 September

Full contact 15-a-side- rugby commences for majority of women’s competitions. 

Global Law Trials

The Global Law trial laws for next season have been released by World Rugby and are on their website. Detailed work is underway to ensure they can be properly communicated to the Game in due course.


For the avoidance of doubt, Sevens fixtures can return with full laws from Monday 19 July.  Age Grade Rugby – Summer Activity Guide continuationThe Age Grade Summer Activity Framework remains in place for the June to August off-season period.

After the disruptions of the pandemic, this enables players to continue to re-engage with rugby throughout the summer months if they wish, and to safely build their readiness to play full contact rugby from Saturday 4 September.

To support this, the Summer Activity Framework already includes provision for friendly matches to be played under adapted contact laws during August. These can start from 7 August, following a period of development in training sessions from Monday 19 July.

This enables scrums and mauls to be reintroduced in a controlled way in friendlies and helps players who have not yet played them, particularly at U14-U16, the chance to experience these key elements of full contact rugby.

More detailed communication will follow on adapted contact laws for Age Grade friendlies.

Monday 19 July

From Monday 19 July, scrum and maul progressions can be included in the defined training times shown in the framework.

XRugby can continue to be played through the rest of July in friendlies (without scrum or mauls).

Saturday 7 August – Saturday 4 September

Adapted contact laws may begin in Age Grade friendlies from Saturday 7 August.

XRugby and non-contact can also continue in friendly matches.

Saturday 4 September

Full contact 15-a-side matches permitted.

Timings for RFU national age grade competitions remain as previously communicated:

W/c 13 Sept – U18s Schools Cup
W/c 27 Sept – U15s Schools Cup
W/c 4 Oct – U18 Boys Age Grade Cup 
W/c 11 Oct- U18s/U15s Girls Age Grade Cup Summer Activity Guide  Key priorities for clubs and coaches – including scrum guidanceAmong the excitement of being allowed to scrum and maul again, we want to make sure that all players return safely.

Coaches are responsible for working with all players to assess and develop their physical readiness.

This is especially true for front 5 players given the period of time the game has been operating without scrum and maul.

Returning to scrummaging

Return to scrummaging should be introduced incrementally with the initial emphasis on individual scrum specific conditioning and technique work.

When players are ready, they can move to 1 v 1 building to 5 v 5 before finally practising 8 v 8 in a controlled environment.

We recommend keeping the number of match intensity scrums to a minimum. Instead the focus should be on individual and unit body position/posture and building time in players respective positions.

For coaches looking for hints and tips we have a three stage Return to Scrummaging guide available:

1. Crouch
2. Bind
3. Set

As part of the ongoing support to getting players back to rugby safely, we have the following webinars that we hope match officials, coaches, players and club officials will find useful. 


Scrum Together – Episode 1
Scrum Together – Episode 2

Mauling – Players will also need to be reintroduced to mauling incrementally. The focus should be on individual body technique first before ‘live’ mauling is introduced. 

Activate – All Age Grade players are encouraged to follow the Activate Injury prevention exercise programme here with coaching sessions planned and delivered around the FITT principles (Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type) here.

Safeguarding – Ahead of pre-season training and the new season starting, clubs must have safeguarding procedures in place. More information is available here.

Click here for the RFU Safeguarding Children policy.

If you have any questions, or if you need any safeguarding advice or support, please contact us by emailing safeguarding@rfu.com.

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