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Rosslyn Park left in limbo as lockdown leads to league being cancelled

The Rugby Football Union has cancelled all competitive leagues below level 3 for men and level 2 for women, leaving teams like Rosslyn Park in limbo.

This means that all competitive rugby from National Divison One and below for men and all rugby below the Premier 15s for women has been cancelled for the duration of the 2020/2021 season.

This is an issue for clubs, with the financial pressure becoming more and more apparent for clubs in these divisions.

Wandsworth-based Rosslyn Park have age-group teams from under-5s and up have both a men’s team and a women’s team.

The women are in the fourth tier of English rugby, NC South East West 1, whilst the men are in National Division One, meaning both teams’ seasons have been cancelled.

Dom Shabbo, managing director at Rossyln Park said: “It’s obviously disappointing, there was very little consultation made with clubs before the decision was made.

“Moving forward we’ll have to wait and see what is permitted in the coming weeks and months from the RFU and the government as to what sort of rugby we’ll be able to play.”

“From a first team perspective and right through the club we’re very keen to get all our teams playing rugby so as soon as we are permitted to do so, we will be doing that.

“The 6th of March was the last competitive rugby match that our first team played.

“It’s been a long time. They’re itching to get back and play, it’s been very hard keeping them engaged as you would imagine with nothing to aim for.”

There is the possibility that there may be localised leagues or at the very least friendlies in the new year, something Shabbo would like to see.

With this long absence from having spectators in the stands, Rosslyn Park, just like many other clubs are struggling financially.

Shabbo added: “As with all rugby clubs, it has been a struggle, we are very lucky, we have got some amazing members and people who are sticking by the club and we’re very fortunate for that but It is tough for all clubs at the moment.”

The RFU’s ready for rugby protocol is currently at stage D, which means training has been allowed to take place, and Shabbo said that is very important.

He added: “There is a lot to be said from the mental health side of things in terms of getting out and playing rugby with your mates.

“From that perspective we’ve definitely been helping and making sure all of our teams can do that.”

Steve Grainger, the RFU Rugby Development Director said on the RFU website: “We will do everything we can to enable the rugby community to return to contact play as soon as we can, but our priority is to keep players, coaches, referees and volunteers safe.”

Featured image credit: Rosslyn Park

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