The IRFU has published a roadmap for a return to rugby in its 217 clubs, and will issue more detailed guidelines on Friday.

A statement from Irish rugby's governing body said that the objective of the roadmap is to provide high-level clarity to clubs and ensure Covid-19 safety measures are taken before activities can resume.

Return to rugby guidelines will be issued to all clubs on Friday 5 June 2020, in accordance with dates dictated by the Irish Government and Northern Ireland executive.

Rugby is listed under phase five of the Irish Government's roadmap to lift restrictions, which would mean matches not resuming until 10 August, but non-contact sports training is permitted from 8 June.

Clubs are now in the safety planning stage of the roadmap, which includes the appointment of a Covid-19 club safety officer to oversee compliance with public health protocols at the club. 

They may only resume training and rugby activities in accordance with government protocols.

Guidelines for rugby in schools and third-level institutions will be issued at a later date.

IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said: "Like everyone else, our community has been following the updates to government roadmaps and recovery plans and asking when clubs can reopen. That's from junior clubs right up to our men’s and women’s clubs in the Energia All-Ireland League.

"The fact remains we can only resume activity in line with the easing of government restrictions, but there is also a lot we can do to ensure the right practices are in place.

"Many clubs are already looking at revised operating procedures. This plan is about helping all clubs move forward as one in providing health and well-being opportunities for their community.

"I’m hopeful our clubs can rise to the challenge. The support will be there for them at both national and provincial level. From there, we can look at a graduated return to rugby with a focus on reduced activities and non-contact forms of the game along the way."