CLUBS will be able to finally resume contact 15-a-side rugby training today after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed the government has approved their submission for a return, with some adaptations.

This follows the announcement last week that outdoor team sport is allowed back once the second lockdown had been lifted.

The resumption does involve some restrictions though, the main one being scrums and mauls will be replaced with free kicks.

Community clubs can also host local friendlies from December 18, while guidance on travel, changing, spectators and clubhouses is yet to be published.

The governing body's statement read: "The Rugby Football Union (RFU) welcomes the news that government has given its approval for 15-a-side contact rugby union to return at grassroots level, subject to adaptations.

"This comes after extensive research and consultations with government into mitigating the risks of close contact.

"By using law variations, this will limit the risk of prolonged face-to-face contact, allowing the community game to resume (everything below the Greene King IPA Championship and Allianz Premier 15s).

"Clubs will be able to begin adapted training from Wednesday 2 December in preparation for local friendly fixtures recommencing from Friday 18 December when the following law variations will come into effect:

- There will be no scrums or mauls in the game.

- Instead of a scrum, the game will begin with a free kick. This free kick cannot be taken quickly.

- A minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout.

- A team awarded a penalty or free kick will no longer be able to choose a scrum option.

- A team awarded a penalty or free kick at a lineout can instead choose another lineout at the same mark.

"Clubs in all tiers will be able to return to Stage E on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap. Further guidance on travel within and between tiers will be issued following publication of government guidance.

"There is no obligation for players and clubs to play 15-a-side adaptations. Clubs will still be able to play Ready4Rugby matches up until and beyond 18 December.

"Adapted Stage E rules/laws for Age Grade Rugby have also been approved for U7-13 and U14-18. The move to Stage E will allow the recommencing of Tag Rugby for U7s and U8s.

"The Department for Education has confirmed schools/colleges can return to playing sport in line with approved National Governing Body action plans."