THE decision to put dual-registration regulations on-hold for a 2021 Betfred Championship and Betfred League One season that will inevitably be built into Covid-19 guidelines means clubs will be building their squads accordingly.
The dual-reg system has been temporarily abolished as part of plans for the Championship and League One to start up again next year (see latest statement from the RFL).
It has been shelved on medical grounds and the need for players to avoid entering different club environments each week.
The same one-club-only regulation also applies in 2021 to the loan system which is still available to clubs but will be less attractive to a lot of full-time Super League players, who won’t be allowed to train with their parent club if they go out on loan. Super League clubs too are more likely to frown on letting players go out on loan if they are not able to have access to them on a day-to-day basis.
The combined effect of all this is likely to result in a significant reduction in the number of ‘borrowed’ players appearing each week in games beneath Super League.
It naturally follows that clubs in tiers two and three will be conscious of the requirement to recruit more extensively.
Another Covid-caused decision will also have repercussions across the three tiers.
There will be no reserve-team rugby in 2021 and although that will mainly apply directly to Super League clubs, the repercussions could spill over to the benefit of clubs lower down the ladder.
Apart from the very obvious factor that players graduating from academy rugby to reserve-team rugby have nowhere to go, even those who still qualify for academies face the dilemma of spending the year at that level or sacrificing full-time training to have a crack on loan at senior rugby in the Championship or in League One.
It all makes for an intriguing situation as clubs and players at all levels face up to new issues caused by Covid-19.