TAUNTON Titans have been given the opportunity to play contact rugby in a cup competition this season.

Back in October, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Council announced the decision to cancel the National League season, as a meaningful league season was no longer feasible in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

READ MORE: No league rugby for Taunton this season

In place of a league campaign for 2020/21, the RFU has put in place a cup competition for the 48 clubs in National Leagues 1, 2 North and 2 South, so that the teams might have a competitive environment to play in when contact rugby is able to resume.

The cup competition will have no impact on clubs' league status (Taunton had earned promotion to National 1 in 2019/20) and taking part is voluntary, but clubs that opt to participate are expected by the RFU to honour their fixtures.

The competition is to be played in two phases, with the first consisting of regional-based leagues of around six clubs, who will play home and away.

The objective is to minimise travelling for teams, with the start date to be determined when the UK government gives the green light for competitive rugby to restart - which is hoped to be in January.

For the second phase, and based on their league positions in the first phase, clubs will be split in cup, plate and bowl sections.

Those matches will then be played on a knockout basis to determine the winners of the three sections, with the finals potentially being hosted at Twickenham.

The statement announcing the cup competition added: "If the restart is conditional on there being modifications to the laws of the game, the competition will be played under these modifications.

"If these are relaxed once the competition starts, we will play under the relaxed conditions.

"It will be necessary to make some changes to the game regulations and these will be announced later."

National Clubs Association chairman John Inverdale said: “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. I’m delighted we’re now able to blow the whistle and I hope as many clubs will enter as possible.”

Clubs have until November 30 to register interest in playing in the competition.