CLUBS across the county will be out of action for at least a month after all levels of the English game were suspended due to coronavirus.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) tonight postponed all rugby activity until April 14, with the measures coming into effect from tomorrow.

It comes after the sport’s governing body met today to discuss their response to the outbreak, while the government advised people to avoid crowded places.

An RFU statement said: “The decision has been taken following government advice in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community.

“Where possible, players at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.

“The RFU will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to the season in the coming weeks.”

The organisation defines ‘rugby activity’ as ‘club training, league and cup matches, plus rugby education courses’.

Many of Oxfordshire’s clubs have backed the decision, with National League 1 side Chinnor, the county’s highest-ranked team, expressing their ‘full support’.

A club statement added: “We will keep everyone informed of any developments, while an update will be provided with regards to non-playing events at the club in the next 24 hours.”

Chinnor had already asked that those experiencing flu-like symptoms do not attend their Kingsey Road ground as the virus began to hit rugby over the weekend.

Several matches were postponed, including Sunday’s Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins, plus three games in the Championship.

Meanwhile, Henley Hawks’ National League 2 South rivals Dings Crusaders postponed their game against Old Redcliffians after one player came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

Further down the pyramid, Southern Counties North outfit Wallingford used the news to offer support to those who needed it.

They tweeted: “We will keep players, supporters, volunteers and coaches updated.

“If any of our rugby family in the vulnerable groups when it comes to Covid-19 need anything in the coming weeks then please feel free to let us know if you need any help and we will support where we can.”

Runaway leaders Witney posted simply: “All rugby activities at Witney RFC will be suspended until further notice.”