PONTYPOOL RFC won’t be returning for summer rugby and will instead start preparations for a Premiership promotion push in the autumn.

Pooler haven’t played since beating Pontypool United in the Ben Francis Cup on February 22, 2020 because the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of their Championship title tussle with Bargoed.

This season was wiped out but the Welsh Rugby Union has outlined their plans for a return for the community game.

That includes cups for Premiership and Championship clubs from August until December.

However, chief executive Ben Jeffreys says that the competition will not feature Pooler, who will instead built towards the return of ‘proper’ rugby.

“We are not going to participate in a competition of that ilk,” he said in a Facebook Live update for supporters. “The structure of the competition isn’t that sound as far as I am concerned.

“If you don’t play a game you forfeit it and give up five points. At our level it would only take a couple of cases within the squad to derail the whole programme anyway.

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“The second reason [for not participating] is that it's just too soon, I think. When you look at the fact that we are going to probably start a league campaign in January or February then coming back in June or July and having that competition, then having a winter break and then going again in the push for promotion doesn’t work for us.

“In terms of a schedule it's way off, so we are sticking to our guns and will arrange our own pre-season.

“We will probably reconvene as a squad in October, have a two or three-month training programme including some pre-season fixtures to gear us up for league campaign.”

The WRU outlined plans for the competition with a graphic featuring Pooler’s Scott Matthews that said there will be home and away fixtures in geographical pools for the Premiership followed by a knockout stage.

In the Championship there will be pool rounds before a cup and plate competition.

National league clubs will have plate, bowl and shield competitions with pool games within districts and an open draw for knockout rounds.

The WRU national senior female clubs will play cups in the north and south of the country with pool games followed by knockout rugby.

There will be modifications around scrums, lineouts, mauls and rucks to minimise contact time.

Many clubs are relishing a return of any kind and are hopeful of getting some of their supporters in to watch action but Pooler are happy to wait.

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“There will be no crowds and heavily modified laws, so for us it is a non-starter,” said Jeffreys.

“There is no point coming back as a club, playing in fixtures, competing for cups and championships without supporters there.”

Pooler will consider letting their players go out on permit to neighbouring National League clubs if they want to take part.

They are also finalising their squad for 2021/22 with announcements of new recruits likely in July or August.