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Ulster look for green light from NI Executive as part of IRFU inter-pro plans

The four provinces are hoping to return to action on 22/23 August at the Aviva Stadium.

ULSTER RUGBY HAS submitted plans for a phased return to training to the Northern Ireland Executive as the IRFU hopes to build towards inter-provincial fixtures at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on the weekend of 22/23 August.

While Munster, Leinster, and Connacht are operating according to the Irish government’s Covid-19 guidelines, Ulster must adhere to the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Executive - something that had been seen as a challenge for the return of professional rugby on this island.

However, Ulster hope to be given the green light to push forward with the same plans as the other three Irish provinces.

ulsters-john-cooney The IRFU plans for pro rugby to resume with inter-pros in August. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

That would involve a return to collective training at the end of June, building up towards inter-provincial clashes in the Aviva Stadium on 22 and 23 August.

It is understood the IRFU have pencilled in a Munster v Leinster clash for Saturday 22 August, with Ulster v Connacht the following day.

The hope now is that the NI Executive will give its stamp of approval for Ulster to proceed with that plan.

The four Irish provinces are currently in holiday mode for the majority of June, allowing players to switch off before pre-season and what promises to be a very busy 2020/21 campaign that will begin with the 2019/20 season being finished out.

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Meanwhile, Ulster Rugby has also confirmed that it will not be offering a traditional season ticket for the 2020/21 season “due to the introduction of social distancing measures at sporting events for some time to come.”

The province will instead be launching a new membership schemed called #TogetherUlster, which will include priority access to match tickets as they become available.

Ulster say “all existing season ticket holders will retain their rights and benefits for the 2021/22 season when the club expects to reintroduce a season ticket offering.”

The province has also issued ticketing information for the remaining games in the 2019/20 seasons of the Pro14 and Champions Cup, both of which remain suspended but are likely to be concluded behind closed doors.

“Season ticket holders will be entitled to claim an account credit of 20% of the value of their season ticket whilst purchasers of tickets to individual matches will be able to claim a full refund,” reads an Ulster Rugby statement.

“Game Pass holders – Ulster Rugby’s half season ticket – will be entitled to claim a 50% account credit. All claims must be made to the club by Tuesday 30 June. 

“Following the 30 June deadline, any outstanding credit/refund amount will be gratefully received by Ulster Rugby and will go towards ensuring that the club is in as strong a position as possible to return when the time is right. Full details and instructions have been communicated to supporters via email today.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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