The IRFU has updated its Return to Rugby Roadmap for clubs with a comprehensive guide ahead of a return to fixtures in September. 

Clubs in the Republic of Ireland will now be permitted to play non-contact rugby from next Wednesday, with contact sessions allowed from 20 July. 

IRFU rugby development director Colin McEntee said of the developments: "We are sticking to the plan we laid out for clubs in May. While a more defined timeline is now in place, clubs should only return when they are ready to do so.

"We have already seen a handful of clubs put a Covid-19 Club Health & Safety Plan in place and resume with reduced activities and we are delighted to see players being active again and reconnecting with their clubs.

"Given the restricted nature of these activities, we don't see any clubs being left behind as we continue to work towards a return to competition in September."

IRFU Return to Rugby Roadmap for clubs
All clubs must complete the Covid-19 Safety Planning Stage before moving to the resumption of training at any level.

Key Points
Clubs in ROI that have completed the Covid-19 Safety Planning Stage can advance to Non-Contact Rugby Stage from 1 July

As per above conditions, clubs can advance to Contact Rugby Stage from 20 July 2020

The IRFU will provide further detail on Non-Contact and Contact stages of Return to Rugby by 26 June

An update is pending on the Non-Contact training element of Step 2 of the NI Coronavirus Regulations- Paperless Pre-Return to Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form available from 13 July

Club competitions are set to commence in September 2020

Player welfare is a key focus of the Return to Rugby Roadmap

The IRFU is to issue supplementary PPE kits to clubs by 29 June 2020

What can Clubs do in the Non-Contact Stage? (From Wednesday 1st July, 2020)
Clubs that have completed the Covid-19 Safety Planning Phase of their return to rugby may enter the Non-Contact Rugby Stage

A 'no plan, no play' policy remains strictly in place. Clubs must confirm with their province that the Covid-19 Club Health & Safety Plan has been completed before they can resume any rugby activity

This stage will allow for skills development and include a provision for tag rugby and touch rugby

Numbers Ratio Players to Coach                 
U-12: 16 players to two coaches
Above U-12 - U-18: 20 players to two coaches
Above U-18: 15 players to two coaches

Session Duration
60 mins max

Content
Non-contact skills-based activities and non-contact game forms (Touch & Tag), 7 v 7 on ½ pitch

Strict social distancing of two metres, the continued completion of Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declarations and safe behaviours including hand hygiene and cough etiquette must be adhered to at all times throughout this stage

What can clubs do in the Contact Stage? (20 July onwards)
Clubs that have completed the Covid-19 Safety Planning Phase of their return to rugby may enter the Contact Rugby Stage of the roadmap

This stage is a graduated return to contact

While continuing with skill-based activities, no scrummaging or mauling will be permitted in the early part of this stage

It will build with controlled contact development towards a defined contact training block to ensure games may commence in early September

Numbers Ratio Players to Coach                
U-12: 16 players to two coaches
Above U-12 - U-18: 20 players to two coaches
Above U-18: 15 players to two coaches

Session Duration
70 mins max

Building Foundations Phase (20 July-1 August)
Skills-based activities
Unopposed set-piece and team
Fitness
No scrummaging or mauling in the first weeks

Beginning of the Contact Prep Phase (1 August onwards)
Build-up use of pads and shields to progress
Work in grids or drills of two to three participants progressing from walking, jogging to running
Working in small numbers on one-to-one contact scenarios with controlled gradual progression
Impact with bump, targeting contact entry points only

Contact Limited Numbers and Time
Forwards (Eight players)
Backs (Seven players)
Phase play (varied eg 6 v 4, 7 v 5, 10 v 5, 10 v 8, 7 v 7, 15 v 5 etc)
Contact gradual progression to reflect the reality of the game and duration of session 

Possibly friendly warm-up 29 and 30 August

Initial fixtures 5 and 6 September