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An orange card? World Rugby reveal Covid-19 law trials

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:


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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%.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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