The Cornish Pirates have been given the go-ahead to return to training this week.

They and their fellow Greene King IPA Championship and Gallagher Premiership clubs have been given provisional authorisation by the Professional Game Board to move to Stage One of the Government's returning to training guidance for elite sport.

All rugby was suspended in March amid the coronavirus outbreak, with the Championship season eventually decided by a weighted best playing record method, while the Gallagher Premiership hopes to finish off its season behind closed doors.

Stage One can be described as a return to a level of organised individual programme training in a defined performance facility while adhering to the government social distancing advice.

This might be individual training or groups of individual athletes training in the same facility/space but adhering to social distancing and other steps to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

Under step one, travel to training venues is also permitted.

Before starting Stage One, clubs will need to provide a written declaration to Premiership Rugby and the RFU that they have met a number of key criteria. These include:

  • All players and support staff must undertake an Education Module which will inform a formal "opt in" process for return to training.
  • Confirmation of the appointment of both a Covid-19 Manager and Covid-19 Medical Lead.
  • Clear guidance regarding cleaning and hygiene standards for training facilities.
  • The provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for the setting.
  • Confirmation of a daily medical screening for players and support staff, which involves the completion of a symptom checklist and temperature check before entering the training facility.

No timescale has been set for clubs to move to Stage Two or Stage Three, which involves the safe return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

Chris Booy, Professional Game Board Chair, said: "The clubs will need to satisfy a number of requirements to start Stage One as we continue the huge amount of work being undertaken to enable a safe return to training.

"The welfare of the players, management and staff is our only priority, and we look forward to the season resuming when it is safe to do so."