Rugby matches in the Tyne Valley are set to return next month in phased plans announced by the Rugby Football Union.

The ‘Return to Community Rugby Roadmap’ has outlined a series of steps for teams across the country to follow, although full contact matches are not allowed to resume until later this spring.

Until March 29 - and in line with current government guidelines - individuals are allowed to train with one other person from a different household, although matches and group training are still not allowed to take place.

However after that date, contact training is set to return - albeit without scrums and mauls - with touch rugby between different clubs also allowed to take place.

April 26 signals another loosening of the restrictions, this time with matches between clubs allowed to resume, although as like with the previous restriction, both scrums and mauls will remain banned, meaning matches will have to use adapted laws.

After that step of the roadmap, further slackening of the restrictions on rugby depend on what the coronavirus situation is of the country at the time, although a date of May 17 has been signalled as long as restrictions allow.

The final step to allowing the sport to resume with full contact matches could potentially be on the May Bank Holiday weekend - from Monday, May 31 - but again this depends on the rules set by government at the time.

“From March 29, rugby clubs can be allowed to be ‘alive again’ which is the key thing,” said NCARugby chairman John Inverdale.

“Then from April 26, matches with adapted laws can be played. Those two dates are set in stone.

“From May 17 onwards, we should be able to resume full contact training, with full contact matches planned from May 31 onwards, although it depends on what the restrictions are at the time.”

“That could be an opportune day for many clubs,” added Inverdale.

“You could imagine an early summers day, and a packed rugby club with a sense of a ‘new dawn’ breaking.”

Teams in our region including Tynedale, Ponetland and Prudhoe and Stocksfield have seen no games played throughout the Covid pandemic, but it appears normality may finally be returning later this year.