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The IRFU is working towards a modified 2020-21 season as it works towards a September return to play for its clubs. 

They've added a 'Competition Stage' to their Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs.

Shortly after the country entered lockdown, the IRFU announced that the 2019-20 season had been brought to a premature close.

Clubs will be allowed resume playing matches in September, but a specific date has yet to be confirmed.

When a date is forthcoming, it will allow - they say - for a minimum five-week training window prior to the first ball being kicked in anger.

IRFU Summary Roadmap

Among the modifications for the 2020-21 season to be expected are clubs' first tranche of games being local "where practicable".

The IRFU says this is down to them recognising, "concerns over travel, safety and expense and this will be reflected in the season’s structure".

IRFU Rugby Committee chair Greg Barrett said, "It’s important for rugby players to have competitive sport to look forward to and they deserve to know that our return to rugby guidelines are built around their welfare.

"We will provide further clarity on what the 2020/21 season will look like, but what we can say is that the first matches permitted will keep travel to a minimum.

"This should help with concerns around travel, but our hope is that this will also serve as an opportunity for the rugby community to support their clubs and help generate some much needed cash-flow.

"For now, I would urge clubs to continue to focus on completing the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage of our guidelines and availing of the education & training supports that the IRFU have put in place.

"That is ultimately what will lead to the resumption of rugby as we know it.”

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