Hendon will play a new form of tough rugby this season

Hendon players celebrate a victory against at Allianz Park last season

Hendon players celebrate a victory against at Allianz Park last season

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the start of amateur 15-a-side rugby as a full contact sport has currently been postponed until at least January 2021.

However, a new non-contact form of Touch Rugby has been devised by the RFU called Ready4Rugby (R4R), commencing with training games within a club but now released to be played inter-club as a way for players to keep them involved with rugby, improve their handling and passing skills and maintain fitness over the coming months.

Hendon, along with other local north London clubs such as Hampstead, Finchley, UCS OBs, Mill Hill and Harrow have got together and will play each other in the weeks before Christmas in a Merit League that hopefully will add a competitive aspect for the reduced format of R4R.

Saturday should have been the start date of the new season League programme but for now it has been replaced with the new locally organised NLM Merit/League to be played by two teams of 10 per club (five forwards and five backs) with rolling replacements for each team for one hour consisting of four periods.

A try scored counts for one point with no conversions allowed, with three match points for winning and two match points for playing. If both teams per club participate a further bonus point is awarded, hence the scoreline as shown gave Hendon maximum points of 11 with Hampstead taking five points.

Hendon’s director of rugby Phil Smith said: “It was great to see all teams get their playing shirts on again and represent their clubs in a competitive game of R4R. It was interesting to find out that as both games progressed players became much more serious, intent and competitive with game plans being formulated.

“I think most players went into a match rather apprehensive but came through having bought into R4R for the weeks to come as the only way they will be able to play competitive rugby for the time being.”