CLAYTON, North Carolina – This past week, the Clayton Rugby Football Club received news that USA Rugby had updated their return to play guidelines. The updates adjusted the return to play stage for many states, including North Carolina. The good news is that the state and club are now aligned in Stage 3 of USA Rugby’s return to play guidelines when they previously fell into Stage 2. This update allows for non-contact training to resume with certain social distancing and preventative measures in place. The Clayton RFC plans to return to training on Wednesday September 16th and is hosting weekly sessions throughout the fall. The club doesn’t plan to return to their traditional Tuesday/Thursday training schedule until they are cleared for full contact.
While a return to full contact is still a ways off, this reprieve was much needed for the Clayton RFC and the rugby community as a whole. With recent progress in limiting the spread of COVID19, there is a good chance that the state will move into Stage 4 in the coming weeks. Stage 4 allows for touch/flag rugby which provides the club more options in training to prepare players for the return to full contact play.
“This was a pleasant surprise for us,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “This has moved up our timeline by a few weeks. Our players are chomping at the bit to do anything rugby-related, so this gives us the opportunity to get our members together. It’s not full rugby, but it’s better than nothing.”
The Carolinas Rugby Union has already pushed the entire matrix season to the winter/spring. If cleared to return to full contact by the end of the year, the club should have time to prepare players for the start of the competitive season in early February.
The Clayton RFC is working diligently to sort through preparations to return to play. The health and safety of players is of the utmost importance, so the club is taking all recommended steps that have been provided by USA Rugby and World Rugby. Full return to play protocols and details are going out to players and members of the club this week. All attendees at training must be registered members of the Clayton RFC and USA Rugby. Due to current conditions, the club will not allow any exceptions.
Along with plans to return to the pitch, the Clayton RFC has opened up membership for the 2020/2021 season. With full contact play not expected to return until later in the year, the club’s Board of Directors have decreased dues for playing members for this season. Social membership fees, already low at $25 per season, remain the same. The club has also introduced two new membership levels for this season. The club is now offering an Old Boys specific membership after the launch of the Clayton Old Boys side last season. They have also added a 7s playing membership for players that only participate during the summer 7s season.
The club is discussing plans for the in-house youth flag rugby program which had their season cancelled this past spring due to COVID19. The club may offer a couple of free youth clinics this fall and hope to have the flag program back for the spring of 2021.
To learn more about the Clayton RFC or to become a member, please contact us at [email protected]. The Clayton RFC currently fields three teams with 1st XV (competitive), 2nd XV (social), and Old Boys (35 & over). So, the club offers a little something for everyone.