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Diss Rugby Club trying to stay positive after RFU pushback

It was the news all community clubs had been fearing – and it was confirmed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) late last week.

Due to the recent alterations in the government’s Covid-19 restrictions, the RFU announced plans to restart competitive rugby – with the exception of the Premiership, the Championship and the Premier 15s – had been shelved until at least January 2021.

Consequently, Diss’ senior sides are now facing up to the prospect of playing half a season at best, with promotion and relegation unlikely.

There will be no competitive rugby at Mackenders until 2021. Picture: Mark Bullimore
There will be no competitive rugby at Mackenders until 2021. Picture: Mark Bullimore

It is a disappointing scenario for head coach Nick Greenhall, who was looking forward to a full second campaign at the Mackenders helm.

Nevertheless, he intends to use the time to his side’s advantage.

“Obviously we are disappointed to have nothing to work towards on a Saturday,” he said.

“But we are still committed to having fun and enjoying ourselves when we get together for training.

“Rugby is all about being with your team-mates and we will get together when we can.

“We’ll be staying fit and looking to challenge brains in a tactical sense.

“We are getting very good numbers at training and while we cannot do full contact stuff, a lot of good progress has been made. That is the way we will work and we’ll be ready for when we can restart.”

Greenhall also confirmed that he was exploring the possibility of setting up a form of touch rugby matches against other local clubs, with the potential for games to start taking place later this month.

On its Return to Rugby roadmap, the governing body remains at Stage D, which allows adapted contact training and non-contact fixtures.

Stage E would allow adapted contact fixtures to take place, but it is not until Stage F is reached that normal match play would be permitted.

Meanwhile, chairman Andy Jermy is hopeful touch rugby fixtures will help to keep club’s youths flourishing.

His concern is that with other grassroots sports – such as football and hockey – getting back under way, some youngsters may be tempted away.

“One of our major concerns is the junior rugby,” he said. “We are looking into starting to provide some touch rugby against other clubs to keep them interested.

“Our youngsters will be going to school and hearing that their mates are playing football matches in leagues, and that is disappointing.

“Hopefully we can get some touch rugby off the ground in the near future – the juniors need something to look forward to.

“Numbers are still really good at the moment, but just constantly training is not enough.”

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