Touch and tag rugby given go-ahead in Wales

Welsh rugby

The Welsh Rugby Union has given the go-ahead for games of touch and junior tag rugby to take place between clubs with immediate effect.

Community rugby came to a close in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020-21 season has been on hold, although clubs have been allowed to train in limited fashion, depending on whether they were in locked down zones.

The WRU says touch and tag games can only take place between teams in the same districts.

"Friendly matches can be arranged between clubs and teams with immediate effect providing they feel they are able to meet the criteria and provide a safe environment for all," said the governing body.

The sport's governing body in Wales added it "has sanctioned the introduction of friendly tag (under 7s and under 8s) and touch rugby matches on a club v club basis for all levels of the game".

Clubs must follow "strict safety and hygiene protocols", including players turning up "match ready" in kit and with home-prepared drinks.

Spectators are not allowed, other than parents attending "for safeguarding purposes who must adhere to Welsh Government guidelines around social distancing and face coverings".

WRU community director Geraint John said: "This is extremely good news as far as the whole of Welsh community rugby is concerned.

"It's important players can return to an element of friendly competition and gain enjoyment from interacting with other teams and clubs once again, something which is after all, at the core of Welsh community rugby.

"We believe extending touch and tag rugby into match situations will continue to help develop skills and fitness as we move through the return to rugby plan.

"These are inclusive formats of the game that promote enjoyment and can be played by all.

"Clubs may choose to integrate male and female players and different age groups, where appropriate.

"We are grateful for the hard work of our volunteers in getting community rugby back to this stage and will continue to support coaches and other vital club volunteers during this challenging time."

WRU operations director Julie Paterson added: "We are grateful for the cooperation of Welsh Government, Sport Wales, the Welsh Sports Association and our other partners for enabling us to get to this stage.

"It is vital we stay vigilant and stick to the procedures volunteers have worked hard to put into place within their club environments so that we can proceed further with our return to rugby plan."