Following ongoing dialogue, the IRFU has welcomed additional clarity from Sport Ireland on the status of outdoor training as follows:

From Monday 10th May

  • Outdoor contact training for adults in pods of a maximum of 15 people
  • Contact training will also be permitted for those under the age 18 in pods of a maximum of 15 people
  • Training can be contact, non-contact or a blend of both. This is strictly on an opt-in basis and should be based on the feedback of each individual playing group.
  • Pitches can reopen but indoor facilities e.g. “changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilets.
  • Please note, all clubs & schools who wish to play structured contact rugby when permitted under public health measures will need to undergo a minimum of 4 weeks of contact readiness training.

From Monday 7th June

Subject to the public health situation at the time, “outdoor sports matches can recommence. No spectators are permitted.”

As per the #ReadyForRugby overview issued on 16th March 2021, all clubs & schools who wish to play structured contact rugby will need to undergo a minimum of 4 weeks of contact readiness training.

Further Updates

The IRFU and provinces will continue to relay all updates to public health measures. An updated version of the IRFU Rugby Participation Roadmap 2021/22 will also be issued in due course.

Non-Rugby Activity In Clubs:

Commercial activities operated by clubs including bar and cafe facilities are subject to relevant sector guidelines.

Message From IRFU Rugby Development Director Colin McEntee:

“After ongoing dialogue, we welcome the clarification from Sport Ireland that contact training can resume in the Republic of Ireland from May 10th. We want to see a summer of fun for our sport – clubs, teams, pods and players will be able to choose how and when they get back out onto the pitch.

With matches permitted in the Republic of Ireland from June 7th, there will be a wide variety of game options available and clubs will be welcome to play each other at a local level from that time.

It is anticipated that a return to competitive structures will commence in August 2021 for all men’s and women’s adult teams, U20s, school, youth and minis starting at local and provincial level. This will be confirmed in due course.

Of all of the values of Irish Rugby, fun is the one we’ve missed the most in the last year. We encourage clubs to focus on a fun and safe environment in welcoming players back to rugby.

Message From IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin:

“We must remember at all times that COVID-19 has not been eliminated from this island. It is critical that clubs continue to minimise risk and adhere to all public health measures in place. 

Rugby will only return in a meaningful way if we adopt the right behaviours that will keep ourselves, our teammates and our club mates safe.

It has been well over a year since most club players have been involved in competitive rugby and we have seen from other team sports that there is an increased risk of injury after a lengthy period without structured training.

That means clubs will have to be extra cautious around the training loads they are putting in place. Player welfare still applies around injury prevention just as much as it does in terms of COVID-19.

#ReadyForRugby Support:

Additional Guidelines are available at

Return To Play Guidance:

PDF: Contact Readiness Training Overview

PDF: Performance, Injury Reduction & Return To Play After Prolonged Inactivity

VIDEO: Getting Contact Ready

VIDEO: Workload Guidelines For Return To Rugby

VIDEO: Protecting Player Performance With Warm Ups

For upcoming #ReadyForRugby Support Webinars, go to

Related Documents:

  • IRFU Rugby Participation Roadmap 2021/22: