ILKLEY felt it was inevitable the sport would collapse less than a month after returning, and state restrictions must be eased before the start of the summer if they are going to play any friendlies this season.

The Dalesmen were one of a small number of clubs who did not resume contact training when it was allowed on December 5.

Instead, Rhys Morgan's men waited until after Christmas but only four days passed into the new year and a third national lockdown soon diminished the chances of any activity occurring.

Ilkley's head of rugby said: "You have got to prepare like everything is going to be fine. But in the back of your mind you are always thinking this isn’t going to happen.

"We resumed contact training because we needed to in the event we were going to play. We were looking at having an in-house game on January 16. We were building towards that.

"It was almost inevitable that this was going to kick off after Christmas and we were going to be in another lockdown."

The RFU were certainly optimistic by thinking the community game could come back in the midst of winter with Covid cases on the rise.

"They probably went a little bit too soon," Morgan sympathised.

"When the whole country is in tier 3 and 4 to say we can play full contact was a mistake, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

"If you want to go out to the shops or stay at home, everything is personal. We made our call and I think it went down well at the club.

"I liaised a lot with Andrew Monroe, chairman of rugby, and he was very happy with the approach we took. It was common sense.

"It is difficult to judge what everyone else has done. A lot of clubs are desperate for money and wanted to get their players back playing.

"They have made the right call now to stop everything in its tracks. A few teams got the odd game but I thought it was always going to be a problem."

Questions are now posed to whether we will see any rugby at all in this bizarre 2020-21.

With the next campaign not too far away, Morgan thinks that must be the priority now and any prospects of friendlies will be off the table if we are still in this situation near the end of spring.

He added: "If we are allowed to play and everything is safe, there is always scope to get some friendlies in. I am a little bit reluctant to continue playing into May.

"We start pre season in July and, although the season has been bitten, we have all had our minds on playing rugby.

"I don’t want to return then start a full league programme four weeks later. The boys would be really tired come Christmas.

"I think we have to use some common sense. I know we have not had a lot of rugby but if we are going to have a successful campaign next season, with promotion and relegation, we need to be fit for that task.

"I will make sure we don’t leak too far into May so that we are ready to get going in July."