Reports that the RFU is looking into making the amateur game ‘contact-free’ next season was always going to receive a mixed response, but Sir Ian McGeechan believes it could be the best option.
According to well-respected rugby scribe Gavin Mairs, the RFU plan is planning to hold back on introducing full contact rugby.
The lower leagues should regionalise – it’s the only way they will survive, writes Sir Ian McGeechanhttps://t.co/s23ysSBg08— Telegraph Rugby (@TelegraphRugby) May 10, 2020
The return of ‘rugby activity’ would see games take place without, mauls, scrums or even tackles until at least next year
“Faced with the prospect of contact-free rugby (or more accurately a “no-contact game”) or no games, I would go for the hybrid option every time,” he writes in a column for the Sunday Telegraph.
“If there is no rugby, if there is nothing to watch, no socialising, no incentive for players to train, a club’s whole raison d’etre is taken away. We could see countless grassroots clubs lost.
“We have to remember, 99 per cent of rugby is amateur, run by volunteers and financially supported by members and local business.
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“So could there be a hybrid solution to enable clubs to have a meaningful opportunity to open? I think so. It is far from ideal, and yes, it is not rugby as such. But it could be key for clubs whilst we transition from lockdown over the next season and beyond.”
McGeechan explained that when Wasps coach, he devised a rugby-soccer game called ‘Fugby’ which the players loved.
“It was great for core skills – kicking, passing, handling, catching – and ferociously competitive,” he says.
“No, it was not rugby, but the players left training with smiles on their faces.
“Why not have such games to transition back into playing and encourage some hybrid competitions regionally with minimum expense?”
LIST | Sir Ian McGeechan’s 10 best young players in the world
Former British and Irish Lions had coach and Telegraph Sport columnist Sir Ian McGeechan selects the 10 young players set to take the world by storm.
1. Marcus Smith, 21, England
“I have watched a lot of him. He never looks flustered on the ball, which is the hallmark of a great player and he has been in and around the England squad without yet being capped.”
2. Jordan Joseph, 19, France
“A powerful runner with good hands and a skilful offload game.”
3. Caelan Doris, 22, Ireland
“Another one off the Leinster independent schools production line (Blackrock College) and one of the standout No 8s in this season’s Champions Cup.”