Rugby Football Union cancels season below Championship and Premier 15s

Ivybridge rugby club
Competitive adult rugby union below the men's second tier and women's top division will remain suspended

All senior rugby union competitions across England below the Championship for men and Premier 15s for women have been cancelled for this season.

The Rugby Football Union council made the decision in light of current government Covid-19 restrictions.

The men's Championship remains on course to start in January, but full contact matches in adult rugby union are still banned under guidelines.

Men's National Leagues One and Two North and South will not take place.

"We believe that, even if a return to full contact rugby becomes possible, playing a meaningful competitive league season resulting in promotion and relegation is no longer feasible," an RFU council statement said.

"The decision has been made now so we can provide clubs with some certainty for the remainder of the season."

Sports minister Nigel Huddlestone recognised the news would be disappointing to players and fans, but stressed protecting people's health remains paramount.

"The government is continuing to work closely with the RFU on ways in which we can bring the competitive, community game back in some form ahead of a return to full contact as soon as the public health situation allows," he said.