RFU coronavirus statement: Stop playing rugby - it is in everyone's interests
Rugby is the latest sport to be handed a complete shutdown.
Shortly after the FA announced all grass-roots football was to stop for for forseeable future the RFU followed suit.
A number of Sussex clubs were still in action last weekend and were looking forward to the season run-in, at all levels from senior down to juniors.
The RFU statement said: "Following government advice today, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level, including club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses from 17 March until 14 April subject to continued review.
"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."