Dear TRU / Red River Clubs:
Happy New Year. We hope you are all doing well.
As you know, back in November, the TRU Competitions Committee pushed back the start of the season to the weekend of February 6, 2021. Unfortunately, the COVID situation will not support that start date, much less the time needed for full-contact training in preparation for February matches.
As such, the Competitions Committee voted on January 11, 2021 to approve the following adjustments to the season schedule:
- The start of the competitive 15s season will be moved to 3/27/21.
- The Competitions Committee would like to survey the Clubs to determine which Clubs are still willing to play this season under this delayed start date, and whether they will participate with all anticipated sides.
- The Committee’s goal will be to issue the revised schedule in the first half of February. A couple of likely features of that schedule:
- The new schedule will likely be a Home or Away schedule;
- Assuming all currently scheduled teams play, this will be 5-6 matches per team (depending on division) over the 8 Saturdays between 3/27/21 and 5/15/21 (including matches on Easter weekend);
- Playoffs will likely start the following weekend (5/22/21);
- There has been no definitive word from the USA Rugby National Competitions Committee, but we believe the odds of a national championship this season are slim and none, and slim just left town.
- If we aren’t in Stage 5 under the RTP Guidelines by March 1, then the Competitions Committee has decided that the league season will be cancelled, and regional tournaments will be scheduled. The tournament format option would be similar to what we contemplated for fall 2020. We would shoot for one tournament in each major metro area over 3 weekends: 5/8, 5/15, and 5/22.
- The 7s Subcommittee is also going to get a jump on structuring the Qualifier and TOLA 7s schedule, with the idea that we will be playing 7s by 6/12/21, at the latest. If we get host commitments from Clubs early, we can put together a solid schedule and have a strong 7s season.
- If you’re interested in hosting a 7s tournament this summer, please contact Fil Keuppens (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With regard to RTP, the TRU is constantly evaluating the current situation. At present, all of the TRU / Red River remains in Stage 4 under the USA Rugby RTP Guidelines. In Stage 4, training can be conducted with some restrictions (TRU Stage 4 Extended Guidelines). However, Clubs should not feel compelled to train if their coaching staff and/or administrators believe that it is unsafe to do so.
Again, we assure you that league play will not begin until after we have been in Stage 5 long enough for Clubs and their players to adequately prepare to resume contact rugby, which is why the Committee set the March 1 “drop dead” date to make a decision on whether to cancel the season. Although all of us should be doing our best to stay physically fit and ready to fully return to rugby, clubs should not feel undue pressure to train due to a concern that the league season will start without adequate advance warning.
Finally, I (David Dodge), personally (not on behalf of the Committee or TRU), would encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is made available to you, and to encourage members of your Club to do the same. Widespread vaccination is the only way we are going to get back to normal, both on and off the pitch.