OVER the past year there has been plenty of false dawns for community rugby union clubs.

Late last year, there was the shock announcement that players could go straight into contact training in December and play games over the festive period.

With Covid-19 numbers on the increase, many clubs quite rightly decided against the idea with the safety of their players in mind.

With the Government recently outlining a roadmap out of lockdown, the RFU have followed suit in a much more calculated manner this time.

From March 29, clubs can host contact training, without scrums and mauls, and participate in touch and tag matches against other clubs.

Once April 26 comes games can then be played under the adopted rules (no scrums or mauls) which were used in that brief return.

The next three steps do not have strict dates as they are based on when the Government reaches Stage 3 in their own respected roadmap.

They do include full contact training and matches resuming, a fortnight between the pair, with scrums and mauls, before all restrictions are lifted when we are at Stage 4.

Despite welcoming the news, head of rugby at Ilkley RFC Rhys Morgan still has he concerns over how it is going to all work leading up to hopefully a jam-packed 2021-22 schedule which starts in September.

He said: "It is difficult because you are in a position where lads are chomping at the bit, but you have to consider how do you time it to get back fresh for pre-season?

"If you play into June, you will be fresh at the start of next year but come Christmas you might be lacking. Although the lads will be firing early on, you have got to think about the prolonged effects. You do not want to be picking up injuries in June on the hard ground.

"Potentially in our league next year it could be the top four who get promoted, you don’t want to be burnt out when it comes down to the nitty gritty.

"We also have a load of lads who are not vaccinated and could potentially spark off another spread.

"Throw in the added complication that our pitches need reseeding in early May, and it is not just a case of great we can play there is so many other things to consider. "

Ilkley will return to training on March 29 and will try get the odd friendly in before work commences on their playing fields.

They will not be competing in the newly formed Ventur Cup which is set to run from May 8 until June 18 between Otley, Leeds Tykes, Wharfedale and Huddersfield.

Morgan added: "We used to be in a position where we could give some of these teams a run for their money, but we have lost a lot of players.

"We have been in a rebuilding phase. To play at that sort of level right now would not be beneficial for us moving forward. I will be quite happy going for a beer and watching them play instead."

Ilkley are hosting a reopening day on April 17 at their clubhouse. For more details, email jasmine@ilkleyrfc.co.uk or ring 07590217089.