Clubs can now begin adapted training in preparation for local friendly fixtures from Friday 18 December, when the following law variations will come into effect:
There will be no scrums or mauls in the game, a minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout.
A team awarded a penalty or free kick will no longer be able to choose a scrum option. A team awarded a penalty or free kick at a lineout can instead choose another lineout at the same mark.
RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said: “We are delighted that our submission has been approved to return to a format of 15 a-side rugby and we thank Government for working with us to find a solution that enables the safe return of the community game.
“In recent months, we have received growing support from clubs and players in favour of adaptations, with law variations preferable to the option of no rugby at all. This is wonderful news for community clubs, their volunteers, players and supporters around the country, who can now look forward to playing contact rugby for the first time since March.
“We now need to be as safe as we possibly can be and comply with all off-field social distancing and Covid-secure guidance to ensure we can continue our phased return to full contact rugby when it is safe to do so.”