THE Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed that the community game won't return to action on time and that players may be sidelined until next year, writes Chris Kirwan.

The governing body postponed the 2019/20 season in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and then cancelled all of its competitions, meaning no promotion, relegation or cup winners.

The professional game is aiming to return in late August with Welsh regional derbies but the WRU have stated that levels below won't enjoy their regular kick-off in September.

"It is now clear that the community season won't start in September, but all options remain in consideration, whether that is October, December or January starts for the game," read a WRU update to clubs.

"We also know the season will look different when it returns and that there will be an emphasis on returning safely and staying local when fixtures are drawn up.

"We will continue to work very closely with the Welsh Government and other sports governing bodies and will update clubs each time the Welsh Government issues a new three-week plan to describe how this affects rugby in Wales.

"A key ambition for the community game in Wales is that we want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem in spreading the disease and will therefore not do anything to compromise public health."

The WRU has asked for nominated club operations managers who will help with all the necessary return to play protocols.

Campaign Series:

A video conference was held with representatives of Premiership clubs last week to discuss how the league can restart and contingency plans while on Monday a webinar was held for almost 300 individuals to discuss plans.

"Contact tracing will be key – it will be vital to complete an online World Rugby module before returning to play AND symptom checks will need to be completed even before leaving the house to train on EACH occasion," said the Union.

"It is also clear that, after the longest time away from rugby in their lives, for many players there will need to be a period of conditioning before resumption and the WRU's strength and conditioning leads will supply training plans for the community game at the appropriate time.

"There will be other measures and we will help clubs to be prepared in each eventuality, such as if elements of rugby allowed before club houses are allowed to open.

"We will run through every step of the facilities process and we are also working closely with our insurers so that when rugby does resume, clubs have full cover."