World Rugby has approved 10 optional law trials which are designed to help rugby unions reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission as the sport gets going again.
The 10 optional law amendments are as follows:
Optional, temporary COVID-19 law amendments available for unions at domestic level if required. All aimed to reduce contact exposure in rugby.https://t.co/wMcQruj9iw— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) May 28, 2020
1. Remove scrum resets when no infringement occurs [e.g. a collapse]
Instead of a reset, the referee would award a free-kick to the team who had the put-in to the scrum. With an average of 3.5 reset scrums per match, this would reduce transmission risk by 30%.
2. Hookers must use a ‘brake foot’ to aid scrum stability
If they don’t, the offending team would be punished with a free-kick. The idea here is to increase stability on scrum engagement in order to reduced the need for resets.
3. No scrum option on penalties or free-kicks
This is a straightforward – again, avoid scrums. World Rugby says there are 1.3 scrum penalties per match, so this change would result in the reduction of close-proximity playing time by two minutes.
4. Goal line drop-out when an attacker is held up in-goal or knocks on in-goal
Again, this is to avoid scrums where possible. There are an average of 0.8 scrums on the five-metre line per match, so this would mean a two-minute reduction of close-proximity playing time.
5. The introduction of an orange card [for possible red-card high tackle offences]
This would apply where a TMO/Citing/Hawkeye review is available. The offending player would be removed from play while a review into their tackle takes place.
If deemed a red-card offence, the player does not return. If it’s a yellow card or penalty only, the player returns after 15 minutes. So even if it’s only a penalty, the offending team would have been reduced to 14 players for a 15-minute period.
The idea here is to change players’ behaviour from upright tackles to lower tackles, therefore reducing the transmission risk.