Coronavirus: World Rugby approves trials for laws to reduce risk of infection
Trials provide limits to scrums with no scrum resets, limits for players joining rucks and mauls, time to play ball at base of scrums, rucks reduced to three seconds, only one movement permitted for a maul
Last Updated: 28/05/20 11:26am
World Rugby has approved 10 domestic law trials designed to provide further coronavirus transmission risk reduction measures if required.
Temporary law trials relating to the scrum, tackle, ruck and maul were approved along with a package of best-practice match hygiene measures.
Each measure aims to reduce individual cumulative exposure to these contact activities, which are generally accepted as presenting the highest coronavirus transmission risk.
Implementation by unions will be entirely based on their territory-specific requirements and respective government advice and directives.
The trials are informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance, which determines high transmission risk as being 15 cumulative minutes within one metre of an infected person.
The law trials were considered by the specialist Law Review Group (LRG) comprising coaches, players, match officials, medics and law specialists, following a detailed analysis of 60 matches.
Comprehensive game analysis enabled an evidence-based approach to developing the temporary trials that limit scrum contact and time, lower the tackle height and speed up ball distribution from rucks and from mauls.
The trials provide limits to scrum options with no scrum resets, limits for players joining rucks and mauls, time to play the ball at the base of scrums, rucks reduced from five to three seconds and only one movement permitted for a maul.
This approach could reduce contact exposure for tight five players by more than 30 per cent, reduce exposure at the ruck by up to 25 per cent and reduce maul contact exposure by 50 per cent.
The RFU responded to the announcement stating: "The RFU recognise the work World Rugby has done on temporary law trials.
"The RFU has its own review underway looking at the options for return to training and return to play rugby for clubs in England. When government advice on social distancing measures are lifted, specific RFU guidance will be announced and provided to clubs."
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "World Rugby is committed to evidence-based injury and infection preventative measures and we are fortunate to have such strong medical and research structures that inform our approach.
"The health and wellbeing of the rugby family is paramount. We have extensively evaluated the perceived risk areas within the game in partnership with our unions. This has enabled an evidence-based assessment of risk areas and playing positions, which led us to develop optional temporary law amendments, complementing the extensive return-to-play guidance we published earlier this month.
"Unions can apply to implement one or more of these amendments on a domestic basis according to the respective government directives relating to COVID-19. I would like to thank everyone for their full commitment to this process which will aid safe return to rugby activities at all levels."