RUGBY sides across the region can return to training in a limited format from next month.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced a phased return to team activities, which can formally resume on August 1 under strict guidelines after consultation with the Welsh Government.

More than 300 clubs attended a webinar held by the governing body last week, which detailed a three-phase plan for a possible return to competitive action in the coming months.

Tackling will be banned from training during the first phase of the process, and all coaches, players, or parents of younger players must complete World Rugby's online Covid-19 Return to Play awareness course and WRU registration process.

No player will be allowed to train unless these stages have been completed.

Small group sessions that will primarily focus on “fitness, skills and small-sided, non-contact games” are permitted, and this will involve groups of no more than 15.

Plans to gradually increase the size of training groups will be announced by the WRU at “the appropriate time”, and players will also have to complete an online symptom checker before sessions.

No announcement has yet been made on any plans for the start of next season, with the WRU stating that government guidance would need to “significantly change” before anything is confirmed.

Julie Paterson, WRU operations director, said: “We are determined to be part of the solution to Covid-19 and for that to happen it is important we all work together.

“The safety of everyone involved in Welsh community rugby and their wider communities is of paramount importance and when rugby returns, we all want it to return for good.

“We will utilise the immediate period ahead of August 1 to help prepare clubs and groups to return to the first stage of club-organised rugby training."