Reserves League to be shelved

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josie andrews
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Reserves League to be shelved

Post by josie andrews » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:45 am

As part of its ongoing dialogue and consultation regarding the impact of Coronavirus on the sport, the RFL has liaised with clubs regarding appropriate amends to the Operational Rules for 2020, and has also worked with clubs on arrangements for the Reserves League, (Under-18) Academy Championship and Under-16 Scholarships for the rest of the year.

In consultation with clubs, the RFL has determined that the Reserves League should be cancelled for 2020. Clubs will still be encouraged to play friendly matches, and it is envisaged that the competition will resume in 2021 – with all decisions to be taken in line with Government advice.

The Reserves League was reinstated for 2020 to strengthen the game’s talent and performance pathway.

With all Rugby League activity currently suspended, cancelling the remainder of the Reserves League fixtures scheduled for 2020 is a recognition of the need to focus on re-arranging postponed First Team Matches and to ensure player welfare and competition integrity.

The RFL has also consulted with clubs who have Academies regarding the ongoing competition structure for the Academy Championship and Scholarship – again, with any decisions to be made in line with Government advice.

Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, said: “We have had extensive discussions with clubs about how best to amend our schedules for the Reserves League, Academy Championship and Under-16s Scholarship in this unprecedented period, bearing in mind the three pillars of player welfare, competition integrity and financial sustainability.

“We regarded the revival of a Reserves League as an important step forward this year, the clubs were supportive of that, and the season had started well until the abrupt suspension of all Rugby League activity last month.

“We have to recognise that the priority for clubs whenever activity can resume will be completing the first team season, and that is why we have cancelled the Reserves League for 2020.

“But equally, clubs are aware that they have invested in the return of Reserves, and made commitments to players, so we will be encouraging them to be imaginative in finding ways to provide competitive rugby for squad players, by arranging friendly fixtures which could involve pooling players between clubs, or even playing Nines matches or festivals.

“We will also need to be flexible in terms of resuming the Academy Championship for Under-18s, and the Under-16s Scholarship programme, and we have already spoken to Heads of Youth about some possible changes to the schedule.

“Public health remains the priority for the RFL and the sport, but we are also determined to ensure the game is ready to resume in the strongest possible way whenever that is appropriate, and the talented young players in our clubs’ Academies and scholarship programmes will have a big part to play in our future.” ... be-shelved
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Wiganer Ted
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Re: Reserves League to be shelved

Post by Wiganer Ted » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:06 am

Good, when the season does resume they will have to play two games a week as well as dropping the Magic, Loop and maybe C Cup. Two games a week for 20-24 weeks could have a massive effect on player welfare with first teamers playing with knocks and injuries.

Cancelling the Reserve Fixtures means clubs can play their reserve players now. It would also be a good thing if no first team player was allowed to play more than 5-6 games a month. If that applied across SL then it would ensure competition integrity. Reserve players would make up the shortfall in first team numbers. How club's head coach selected his squad for each game would test their selection skills. It would also give reserve players an opportunity to play at the highest level.

This, to me, seems the first step on the pathway of bringing back RL/SL onto the field.

Well Done RFL/SL

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Re: Reserves League to be shelved

Post by DaveO » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:52 am

I think cancelling the reserves as well as the under 18's and scholarship games is all down to the logistics of trying to cram in even more games alongside first team fixtures and nothing more than that.

You don't need to cancel the reserves because the players are needed in the first team. Initially they won't be with first team squads of typically over 25 players at all clubs. The problem as the press release hints at with the suggestion of friendlies will be lack of game time for the reserve players. It could be weeks before you need to call on reserve players who have little or no SL experience it at all.

As well as being part of junior player development the value of the reserves to the first team squad has always been as a place where first players returning from injury could get some game time and the reserve teams are not made up of non-first team players who are ready or capable of playing at SL level. What I am trying to say is the reserves are not a ready made pool of talent who can be used to rotate first team players.

I'd expect any squad rotation to be largely confined to the first team squad. Any ideas of limiting how many games a first team player plays is a nonstarter. That will just devalue the competition with clubs complaining they can't field their best team. The clubs need to be left to manage their own squads. If the players union wants input about duty of care if a crowded fixture list is proposed then they should be involved and the RFL/SL shouldn't come up with idiotic fixture lists in the first place.

Mind you all this presupposes the season will restart in 2020. With the latest announcement social distancing in some form is likely to continue into 2021 I can't see I am hopeful it will.

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