Barnsley RUFC will play again from tomorrow in a modified version of their sport.
The RFU have allowed games to re-start from today so the Shaw Laners are planning to play two friendlies against Thorne, away tomorrow and home on January 9, before a ‘Yorkshire Conference’ against local clubs begins later in 2021.
They will also try to organise more games with their near neighbours to play as regularly as possible before hopefully re-starting in Yorkshire League Three for the 2021/22 season.
Coach Ant Posa said: “It’s fantastic.
“It’s really helpful physically and mentally for the boys to be playing again. We’re over the moon.
“The first training session back was on a horrible night – cold and wet.
“And I was thinking to myself that, if this was a normal season, most people – including myself being from New Zealand – wouldn’t have enjoyed it very much. But we were all just delighted to get back and to have some games to prepare for.
“Hopefully we can get some decent local games.
“The less travelling the better. I don’t think we should get on a team bus together at the moment.”
If South Yorkshire is moved from tier three to tier two, fans will be able to return to Shaw Lane.
That would provide some vital revenue to the sports club which has come close to closure during the coronavirus crisis.
Posa said: “We’re hoping that, by January, we’ll be in tier two and we can get some supporters into the club which is of very high importance.
“We’re crossing everything so that we can get fans back to our games from January.”
The rules will change, with no scrums in order to reduce longer face-to-face contact.
Posa said: “The difficult people out there will bemoan the fact that there are no scrums or mauls allowed but it’s way better than nothing.
“The games will be a lot quicker, a lot more skill will need to be shown.
“The pace of the game will go up.”
Barnsley’s Mark Smith added: “There are lots of adaptations, both in the rules to reduce the amount of contact time and also in terms of what we can do off field – changing facilities, kit, clubhouses not being used.
“However, after so long without rugby, a lot of players are really keen to get going again.
“For those that want more time before they come back, we’ll completely respect their opinions.
“This whole situation is new to us all and everyone is dealing with it in their own way and they should be allowed that respect.”