Competitive rugby return by October welcomed by Biggar Rugby Club stalwart Alistair Stewart

A Biggar Rugby Club stalwart has welcomed news that competitive rugby in Scotland is earmarked for restarting by October.

Biggar pictured during a victory over Melrose last season (Pic by Nigel Pacey)

Biggar RFC past president Alistair Stewart gave a hearty ‘thumbs up’ to Scottish Rugby’s “road map” out of coronavirus lockdown, which outlines a phased return culminating in clubs potentially starting their 2020/21 league campaigns within three months.

“The statement on Friday saying that we could play competitive rugby in October as a best case scenario was probably better than we had expected,” Alistair told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

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“But whether or not that’s a realistic proposition or not we’re not very sure.

“I would be surprised myself if I’m being quite honest.

“But it would be fantastic because there’s a whole lot of young lads who are driving their parents daft because they’re not able to play rugby.

“And the senior players are very much in the same vein.

“They are desperate to get back, play, get some exercise and get some fun.

“The social aspect is a huge part of it too and just being in a group of like minded people letting off a bit of steam is great.”

Biggar, whose players have been training individually due to Covid-19 regulations, hope to move to stage three of the Scottish Rugby guidelines – letting players train in small groups with touch rugby training permitted – next month.

Stage four, also targeted for August, will let larger groups train together in a modified version of contact rugby as well as gyms being opened.

Stage five will then see clubs return to how things would have looked pre-lockdown with full squads allowed to train in full contact with clubhouses permitted to open.

During stage five clubs can organise friendly matches ahead of the return of competitive action in stage six in October.

However, a statement from Scottish Rugby said: “Clubs should not expect a traditional season in 2020/21.

“The rugby season may look very different, with regional and/or local fixtures likely to replace the competitive league programmes at many levels in order to stay in line with Scottish Government Guidelines, physical distancing and travel restrictions.”