Return to Rugby | Guidelines for Clubs and Schools

Return to Rugby | Guidelines for Clubs and Schools

Scottish Rugby will continue to provide Return to Rugby updates and guidelines for clubs and schools in Scotland. This area of the website will reflect updates and the latest guidelines when information released.

Return to Rugby

Roadmap for Clubs & Schools

A roadmap outlining how clubs & school rugby could return in Scotland for the 2020/21 season has been unveiled by Scottish Rugby.

View Roadmap

Return to Rugby Update (Clubs and Schools) – Thursday 22 October 2020

The Scottish Government announced that the temporary measures within specific NHS Health Board areas will be extended until 6am on Monday 2 November. As a consequence, the temporary Return to Rugby guidance for the central belt and nationwide areas have been extended. Please find the updated guidance documents below which relate to specific NHS Health Board areas.

The Scottish Government also adjusted the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions Fund accordingly with further information here.

The First Minister has set out on 21 October plans for the publication on Friday 23 October of a new Strategic Framework for control of the virus based on a 'levels' approach. Scottish Rugby will update clubs and schools on the impact this document may have on Return to Rugby guidance when more information becomes available.

Temporary Measures – community rugby guidance

In recent weeks, the Covid-19 transmission rate nationally has increased, and further temporary government measures were announced throughout Scotland on Wednesday 7 October. These temporary measures have impacted the Return to Rugby guidance for clubs and schools:

Temporary restrictions for clubs and schools in central belt NHS Health Boards from 9 October - 2 November 2020:

o Affected central belt NHS health boards - Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.

o From 18:00 on 9 October:

o Licensed premises are required to close indoors and outdoors.

o Takeaway services can continue

o Unlicensed premises will be able to stay open until 6pm to support social isolation.

o All the current regulations and the limits on meeting a maximum of 6 people from 2 households in indoor public places will still apply.

o From 00:01 on 10 October:

o Adult Stage 4 rugby training activity is postponed until Sunday 25 October (inclusive) in the central belt NHS health board areas. As a result, adult rugby training moves back to Stage 2 ‘individual training’ during this period, with no touch or modified contact activities permitted. Players (max group size 8 per pitch) must physically distance at all times and cannot share equipment (including balls). Further information can be found here (

o Mini and youth rugby remains unaffected.

o No group exercise classes or activities for indoor gyms and sports courts or pools, with an exemption for under 18s.

o Gyms can remain open for individual exercise only

Recommendations for Nationwide NHS Health Boards (except central belt areas)

o Affected NHS Health Boards - Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Highland, Grampian, Tayside, Fife, Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

o From 18:00 on 9 October:

o Licensed premises may only open indoors between 6am and 6pm, with no sales of alcohol, and outdoors until 10pm, with sales of alcohol.

o Takeaway services can continue.

o All the current regulations and the limits on meeting a maximum of 6 people from 2 households in indoor public places will still apply.

o From 00:01 on 10 October:

o Mini, Youth & Adult Activity - Current Return to Rugby restrictions apply - activity can continue in line with Stage 4 guidance.

o Indoor Group Exercise - Current Return to Rugby restrictions apply - Activity can continue in line with Stage 4 guidance.

Stage 4 Guidance & Downloads

  • Webinar | Return to Rugby Stage 4
  • Gyms and Indoor Sport & Physical Activity | Guidance and Downlaods

    As per the Scottish Government announcement on the 20th August, the indicative date to resume indoor sport and physical activity, including gyms, is the 31st August.

    Indoor areas can open for;

    Non-contact sport and physical activity for adults and children over 12

    Non-contact & contact sport and physical activity for children under 12

    Contact sport refers to the Scottish Rugby sanctioned version of touch rugby which has been approved specifically to adhere to Scottish Government guidelines.

    In conjunction with sportscotland, Scottish Rugby has produced the following downloads to support clubs, should they decide it is safe to open indoor areas for sport and physical activity;

    • Gym Re-opening Infographic
    • Gym Re-opening Supplementary Guidance
    • Indoor Physical Activity Guidance
    • Multi-use Facility Guidance

    With regards to changing facilities, where possible, participants should arrive already changed for activity and leave without showering.

    Changing rooms are an area of increased risk of transmission and should remain closed for now other than for people with disabilities, additional needs or in exceptional circumstances.

    If clubs require to open changing facilities, they should adhere to the following guidance;

    • Reduce capacity to accommodate physical distancing
    • Water test should be completed for showers before allowing access
    • Shower capacity reduced to one person at a time with full cleaning carried out after each use
    • Whole changing area must be cleaned before and after use


    Indoor spaces guidance
    Gym re-opening guidance
    Operational points

    Online Webinar

  • Facility Re-Opening | Guidance & Downloads

    Scottish Rugby has produced a series of resources and checklists to support clubs with the reopening of their facilities. Please note that clubs should appoint a Covid-19 Safety Coordinator and undertake a thorough risk assessment before re-opening any facilities or resuming activity.

    We recommend that clubs keep up to date with Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing, and hygiene. Facility operators, clubs and participants should be aware of and may need to adapt to any changes in guidance at short notice.

    Please be aware that the easing of restrictions does not mean that all facilities/venues will open immediately. Owners/operators require time to consider implications of opening facilities and venues and put plans in place to ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers.

    For further guidance, please see sportscotland’s Getting your facilities fit for sport webpage.


    Pitch re-opening | Checklist

    Outdoor Catering | Guidance

    Outdoor Catering | Re-opening process

    Tennents | Guidance and Local

    Indoor Catering | Opening indoor space for catering/hospitality

    Guidance | Safeguarding and Wellbeing


    Poster | Safeguarding and Wellbeing

    Poster | Covid-19 Hygiene

    Risk Assessments:

    Risk Assessment | Competing a Risk Assesment Guidance

    Risk Assessment | Example

    Risk Assessment | Outdoor Catering


E-Learning Course

Scottish Rugby has launched a new Covid-19 E-Learning Course in line with Stage 3 Return to Rugby guidelines. This free course, available online now.

Start Online Course

Covid-19 Safety Coordinator Role

It is recommended that each club appoints a Covid-19 Safety Co-ordinator during the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of this role is to oversee public health and safety measures across the club, ensuring that the club is operating in a safe manner and adheres to Scottish Government and Scottish Rugby guidelines.

Clubs can nominate a Covid-19 Safety Co-ordinator by completing this online form. The form must be completed by the club President or Secretary and must be done before any rugby activity takes place.

Please note that clubs must nominate a Covid-19 Safety Co-ordinator before any on or off field club activities can take place.

This role would be ideally suited to a club volunteer who is medically trained, but not essential. This can also be a new volunteer role or added to a current role within the club.

Downloads and Resources

Document Topic


Date Created

Stage 4 Guidance

Stage 4 Infographic

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Modified Full Contact Guidance (P5/U10 and below)

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Modified Full Contact Guidance (P6/U11 to Adult)

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Coaching Guidance

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Player Guidance

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Age Grade Law Variation Guidance (Micro & Mini)

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Age Grade Law Variation Guidance (Boys)

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Age Grade Law Variation Guidance (Girls)

9 September 2020

Stage 4 Small sided games resource

9 September 2020

Facility re-opening

Gym re-opening guidance

31 August 2020

Indoor spaces guidance

31 August 2020

General Operational Points for Multi Use Facilities

31 August 2020

Pitch Re-opening Checklist

29 June 2020

Catering / Hospitality

Outdoor Catering Club Guidance

29 June 2020

Outdoor Catering Re-Opening Process

29 June 2020

Tennents Local & Guidance

29 June 2020

Opening Indoor Space for Catering / Hospitality

29 June 2020

Player Welfare

First Aid Responder Guidance

21 August 2020

Safeguarding & Wellbeing Guidance

10 July 2020


Covid-19 Hygiene Posters

29 June 2020

Safeguarding & Wellbeing Poster

10 July 2020

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment | Competing a Risk Assessment Guidance

29 June 2020

Risk Assessment | Example

29 June 2020

Risk Assessment | Outdoor Catering

29 June 2020

Covid-19 Safety Coordinator

Covid-19 Safety Coordinator Role description

29 June 2020

Covid-19 Team Lead Role description

29 June 2020

Training Checklist

29 June 2020

Player Attendance Register

29 June 2020

Responding to a positive case

20 August 2020


On going

Webinar Playlist 

Scottish Rugby have hosted online webinars at key stages throughout the Return to Rugby. Webinars are now hosted online and available to watch at any time on YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions

Archive | Previous Communications

  • Return to Rugby Update – Friday 9 October 2020

    Scottish Rugby’s Board has today supported a recommendation by the Scottish Rugby Council to delay the planned return to competitive rugby, at all levels of the club and school game, until January 2021 at the earliest.

    This week’s announcement by the Scottish Government to pause all outdoor contact sport for over 18s, with the exception of professional sport, until Sunday 25 October across five regional health boards, aligned with its previous decision to delay moving to Phase 4 of its COVID-19 recovery Route Map until at least 15 October means Scottish Rugby’s timetable to progress its own Return to Rugby Roadmap will be further delayed.

    As a consequence of Scottish Rugby remaining at Stage 4 of its Roadmap for a further period of time, the resumption of competitive rugby from the intended date of 31 October 2020 was deemed no longer feasible.

    Without government lockdown measures easing to enable Scottish Rugby to move to Stage 5 and the resulting resumption of full contact training and non-competitive (friendly) matches, players would be unable to fully and safely prepare for competitive matches from 31 October.

    The decision to pause the return to competitive rugby in the community game has been shared with Scottish Government, which in turn has fully supported the move and its rationale.

    Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group met twice this week in its role to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the sport and the wider societal implications and along with the Rugby Development department continue to keep all options under consideration.

    The FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series, which had a scheduled start date of 31 October, will now not take place. The FOSROC Super6 teams will now work towards a full fixture card in the spring of 2021.

    Scottish Rugby remains fully committed to supporting the six franchises, their part-time professional players and staff.

    Over a dozen rugby clubs across Scotland have reported positive coronavirus cases in recent weeks, resulting in facilities being temporarily closed and deep cleaned, training sessions postponed and public health guidance on self-isolation being followed by those affected.

    Recent government restrictions would also limit the ability of clubs to travel to games with car sharing not permitted and private hire buses only able to operate at 50% capacity, alongside how changing/shower rooms can be used safely in club houses.

    Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr said: “After much careful consideration and following a detailed briefing by colleagues in Rugby Development, our Chief Medical Officer and the updates from Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group we took the difficult decision as a Council to recommend delaying the start of competitive rugby until January 2021, which the Board then fully supported.

    “We know many clubs and schools were preparing well and looking forward to resuming competitive matches, often against their local rivals due to the proposed regional fixtures, but we must put the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.

    “With Covid numbers rising nationally we must act responsibility in the communities where our clubs and schools play, and secondly this delay gives us all time to take stock and contribute to helping lower the infection rates, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”

    A delay to the start of the competitive season until January 2021 equates to a circa 10-week (minimum) period which would, hopefully, provide time for the infection rate in society to fall.

    Confirmation that competitive rugby will not be played during this period seeks to provide certainty to clubs, schools and volunteers in the months ahead if wider government restrictions are implemented.

    Scottish Rugby remains at Stage Four of its own routemap (apart from those areas impacted by the temporary measures outlined below between 9-25 October), with clubs and schools still training with the necessary health mitigations in place.

    Rugby Development will host webinars for both clubs and schools and Covid 19 Safety Coordinators next week commencing 12 October, dates and times to follow.

  • Return to Rugby Stage 4 – Friday 2 October 2020

    The First Minister's statement of 1 October has further delayed the Scottish Government’s Phase 4 of easing the Covid-19 restrictions to 15 October at the earliest. In line with this, and following discussions with government, Scottish Rugby is delaying the implementation of return to rugby stage 5 for the community game and Super6 across Scotland. The safety of those involved in the rugby community is our priority at this time and therefore all rugby will remain at the current stage (stage 4) until 15 October at the earliest.

    Scottish Rugby is very conscious that Government restrictions have been increased in some parts of Scotland as the incidence of coronavirus has risen, and we recognise the impact on the NHS, medical staff and key workers across the country. Therefore Scottish Rugby’s Council will meet on Monday 5 October, to review the current Return to Rugby roadmap for the community game.

  • Updated Guidance | Issued on ​Thursday 20 August 2020

    Scottish Rugby welcomes the Scottish Governments announcement today (20 August) that adult contact sport can return as of 24 August.

    In conjunction with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Rugby Threat Management Group has agreed a roadmap for the return of contact rugby for all age groups, with the next step being the return to modified touch rugby for adults on the 24 August. Mini & Youth players have been able to participate in modified touch rugby activities since 13 July.

    The updated Return to Rugby guidance for clubs and schools can be downloaded below. A webinar was held on 21 August, which can be now be viewed below.


    Stage 3 Updated Guidance

    Stage 3 Infographic

    Adult Player Guidance

    Adult Coaching Guidance

    Adult Modified Touch Rugby

    First Aid Guidance

    Responding to a Positive Case


  • Stage 3 | Player Guidance

    Scottish Rugby has released the Return to Rugby Stage 3 guidance for clubs and schools to follow the Scottish Government’s own Phase 3 announcement yesterday (9 July).

    The Stage 3 guidance has been developed by the Scottish Rugby Threat Management Group’s Return to Rugby sub-group and comes into effect as of Monday 13 July.

    From Monday 13 July, Children and Young People (up to under 18) will be able to participate in restricted Touch Rugby activities. Adults (18 and over) will be able to participate in small group (max 15 players from max 5 households) training activity using a ball. The difference in permitted activity between children/young people and adults is due to medical evidence young people are believed to be less likely to transmit the virus.

    From Wednesday 15 July, Indoor Hospitality can reopen but will be subject to physical distance rules and guidance. Clubs who wish to reopen an indoor catering area must adhere to Scottish Government guidance which can be found at At this stage, all other indoor facilities (except toilets) must remain closed until further notice (inc. gyms and changing rooms).


    Summary Document Return to Rugby Stage 3 - updated 31 July

    Training Bubbles Stage 3

    Mini & Youth:


    Touch Rugby

    Player Guidance

    Coach Guidance



    Activity Guidance

    Player Guidance

    Coach Guidance

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