Irish Rugby have announced that their ‘Return to Play’ proposals have been submitted to the government with the penultimate weekend of August set for the targeted resumption of Guinness PRO14 inter-pro fixtures.
IRFU’s Chief Executive Philip Browne announced the submission of the proposals which were settled upon following ‘an extensive and assiduous’ process involving experts including but not limited to, the IRFU medical team, PRO14 officials and the Aviva Stadium team.
The Aviva Stadium would be the venue for the behind closed doors inter-pro games with August 22nd and 23rd slated as the dates under the proposals.
“Our documents are now with the Government and I would like to acknowledge the cooperation and support we have received from the Government and its agencies, in particular Sport Ireland and The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport,” Browne said, in a statement on the IRFU’s website.
“Based on these protocols, we have set target dates of 22nd and 23rd August for a return to play with the staging of Guinness PRO14 derby fixtures between the provinces at the Aviva Stadium behind closed doors, as part of the completion of the Guinness PRO14 2019/20 season.
“In these times these matches are not just rugby fixtures, they are a beacon of hope for the entire country. A step, albeit a small one, in Ireland’s opening up to an environment for which the entire country yearns, deserves and has sacrificed so much to win back. We very much look forward to being able to play our part in delivering this much needed tonic for the country.”
Browne also spoke on the resumption of international rugby in the country following its postponement stating that it’s the IRFU’s goal to have Test matches back in the Autumn however he conceded that it is too early to say whether that will be viable.
“What I can say is that we are proactively engaging with World Rugby and our fellow Unions to work on a programme which will deliver international matches here sometime in October or November.
“Obviously as part of this approach we are keeping a close eye on the various top-level sports around the world which are now coming back to play.
“We will take whatever learnings we can from their experiences in order to ensure we meet with the most stringent health directives and guidance around the safety of players, management, all of the support crew and supporters, if involved.”