AFTER nine long months, rugby clubs can finally look forward to getting back out on the pitch once again.

The Rugby Football Union confirmed on Tuesday that the Government has approved its submission to a return to 15-a-side contact rugby, with some adaptations.

This will apply to all rugby union matches in England below Championship level and the Premier XVs in the women’s game.

This follows the Government’s announcement last week that outdoor team sport can resume from Wednesday, December 2.

Clubs can resume training under the new adaptations from this date, with friendly fixtures permitted from December 18. This is to allow players to prepare properly and safely, having not been training over the past month.

The main alteration sees scrums and mauls outlawed, with scrums to be replaced with a free kick.

A minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team will be required to form a lineout.

Further detail on the adaptations and associated laws will follow.

Clubs can still play Ready4Rugby, a non-contact form of the game, if they have matches coming up from December 2 to December 18 and beyond. There is no obligation to play adapted 15-a-side contact fixtures.

Further Government guidance is expected on travel, changing, spectators and clubhouses.

The RFU has said it will work to interpret Government information and will provide a detailed briefing.

A timeframe for a return to competition is still up in the air, with the Cornwall RFU recently suggesting a condensed, countywide competition for its clubs after the RFU cancelled its standard national competitions at grassroots level last month.

Rugby teams in Cornwall have not played a competitive match since at least March 14, when Redruth, St Austell and Penryn were among the sides in action on what proved to be the final day of the 2019/20 campaign.