The RFU have taken the step to suspend all rugby in England in a bid to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
They follow the lead of the IRFU and the WRU who have already moved to suspend all rugby activity.
The RFU statement reads:
“Following government advice today, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level, including club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses from 17 March until 14 April subject to continued review.
The decision has been taken following government advice in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community.
“Where possible, players at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.
“The RFU will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to the season in the coming weeks.”
The Premiership have confirmed a 5-week suspension. In an open message to their fans, they wrote:
“We are sorry to tell our fans that we will be postponing our season for five weeks, in line with today’s advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which confirmed that the Government would no longer support mass gatherings.
“The safety of our fans and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery.
“We’ll continue to work closely with DCMS and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts, and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time.
“We are working together with our broadcast partner BT Sport to create exclusive rugby content in the coming weeks. More news on that to follow.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now