English Premiership clubs will take another step towards a restart after the players were permitted to resume close contact training next week, the Professional Game Board (PGB) said on Friday.
The Premiership was suspended in March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed 43,995 people in Britain.
The government gave permission for elite sport to return behind closed doors from 1 June and the Premiership, which has nine rounds remaining, is hoping to resume on the weekend of 14-16 August.
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In Stage One of the ‘Rugby Restart’ plans, players were cleared to resume individual training with strict social distancing measures last month.
The PGB said Stage Two will now see a resumption of close contact training where small groups of players “will be able to interact much closer to one another”.
“I’m delighted to confirm that Rugby Restart is on track,” PGB chairman Chris Booy said in a statement.
“The teams at Premiership Rugby, Rugby Football Union, Rugby Players Association and at our clubs have undertaken a huge amount of work to get us to Stage Two and I commend them for their dedication and tireless commitment to resuming the League campaign when it is safe to do so.”
As part of the Stage Two guidance, the players and staff are required to follow a formal “opt-in” process. They must also undergo regular testing for Covid-19.
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