Kilkenny rugby on course for a September return

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Kilkenny's rugby players could be back in action in September

Rugby clubs can look forward to a return to match action in September.

The good news for Kilkenny players came after the IRFU announced a ‘Competition Stage’ to their Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs.

The move will allow all clubs, including Foulkstown-based Kilkenny, to plan and work towards the start of the 2020/21 season and the playing of rugby matches.

While a specific date has yet to be announced, it will also factor in a minimum window of five weeks permitted for contact training ahead of a return to rugby matches.

The Competition Stage is the final stage in the summary roadmap of the IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines. All clubs are currently in the Covid-19 Safety Planning Stage, which they must complete before moving to the resumption of training at any level.

The IRFU are working toward a modified season for 2020/21. The governing body recognises concerns over travel, safety and expense and this will be reflected in the season’s structure. Clubs should expect that games at the start of the season will be kept local where practicable.

"This is another welcome step in our return to rugby," said Greg Barrett, chairperson of the IRFU Rugby Committee. "There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes in clubs at present as they put Health & Safety plans in place to manage the risk of Covid-19. This announcement helps give us all something to work towards.

"It’s important for rugby players to have competitive sport to look forward to and they deserve to know that our return to rugby guidelines are built around their welfare.

"We will provide further clarity on what the 2020/21 season will look like, but what we can say is that the first matches permitted will keep travel to a minimum."

The IRFU are also launching their KNOW > SHOW > GO campaign ahead of clubs resuming rugby activity. Clubs will be asked to:

Know roles and responsibilities in preventing the spread of COVID-19

Show respect for team mates around safe behaviour

Go train well, then go home straight afterwards to allow team mates to train safely

The IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs are available here