Those of us who are involved with rugby football, be it as a player, administrator, official or supporter or in any other capacity, we are all waiting somewhat impatiently for a signal from the game’s masters as to when some light might begin to appear in the lock down tunnel which would herald the start of the next season.
With all the distractions at the top end of the game regarding the completion of the 2019/20 campaign, the less than edifying revelations about players’ financial ambitions, the respective pronouncements from the governing bodies of the Premier League, the various representative groupings and the selfish desire to close off the top echelon of the game by“ring fencing”, one might think that the wider body of the
game has been overlooked. It is true that there has been little indication of the thinking of the Rugby Football Union and to their huge credit they have not allowed a drip feed of disruptive rumour to dribble out; in fact the dearth of any information indicates their ship is tighter than the water-tight rear end of the proverbial duck and much praise to them for that.
We do know there will be a change of the league structures for the season 21/22 with a regionalisation at Levels 3 and 4 and an overhaul of the wooden thinking below those levels to stave off the waning interest in the game with most clubs reporting an alarming falling away of depth of teams. As a prelude to some of those changes, and with the likelihood of a shortened season beckoning, it seems possible that one scenario would be to play effectively half a season so rather than play those in your league twice, home and away, you would play your league opponents just once and then the top eight sides would play off quarter finals, semis and finals to determine promotion issues.
The above is just one example of a format the RFU have spelled out as a way forward and have invited responses from clubs and constituent bodies (County RFUs) to present their thoughts by early July before decisions will be taken and the results rolled out to the game as a whole Twickenham has also announced a road map illustrating how the game can re-commence showing the situation sitting at Point B at the present time and play will not be permitted until Point F is reached and that will be dictated by the rate at which Covid 19, and all of the implications that flow from that,recedes.
Here am I praising the RFU for their tight-lipped approach and then poking a finger in the air to test the wind and that is not very helpful but I am seriously impressed by the direction being given by the game’s senior administrators – they have taken charge and that is to be applauded. If I turn the spotlight on to the Taunton Titans, however, I can report that despite the lockdown steady progress has been made by the coaches. The players,and that includes the vast majority of last season’s squad, plus a number of additional names yet to be announced, have just completed a six week programme of intensive individual training and are moving into further training in small groups of five or six, the intention being that Tony Yapp, head coach, expects to field a seriously match-ready team when they enter the fray for their first-ever foray into the heady heights of National League One, having been promoted from National Two(South) as champions as the last season closed.
Taunton Rugby Football Club are the proud owners of one of the best rugby football stadiums below the grand grounds of the premiership sides and are thrilled at the prospect of famous names from the game of rugby like Blackheath, Rosslyn Park, Birmingham Moseley, Leeds and Plymouth Albion plus old friends such as Cambridge, Bishops Stortford, Cinderford and The Rams coming to have a tilt at our windmill. Not surprisingly we are looking forward to the curtain going up,whenever that might be, and we are so keen to welcome back our old friends and stalwart supporters together with, we hope, a raft of new followers who will enjoy the exciting brand of rugby football at The Towergate Stadium.