• September 29th, 2020

World Rugby introduces Covid-19 law trails

Maurice Kambukwe

World rugby governing body, World Rugby, has introduced an assortment of measures and countermeasures aimed at mitigating the effects of the widespread Covid-19 pandemic during matches and training sessions. 

The newly-promulgated measures seek to minimise contact during competitions and ensure the players’ health remains top of the agenda as rugby activities worldwide prepare to return to normalcy.

Severely reduction in several scrums during a game, removing the choke tackle, limiting numbers in the maul, and speeding up rucks are among the ten optional law trials proposed by World Rugby to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the sport.
Various hygiene procedures for training and matches were also formally recommended by the world rugby presiding body, which includes sanitising the ball and not allowing players to spit.

Implementation of the measures will be at the discretion of individual unions based on the prevalence of the virus in their territory and specific government advice.
Each measure aims to reduce individual cumulative exposure to these contact activities, which are generally accepted as presenting the highest Covid-19 transmission risk.

World Rugby expects the trials to apply more to the community game than the elite end, where testing is likely to be more widespread, although the introduction of an “orange card” is specific to the professional game.
Among the law trials proposed is removing scrum resets, taking away the option of a scrum for a penalty, a free-kick or when an attacker is held-up in-goal and reinforcing high tackle guidelines to reduce face-to-face contact and the introduction of an “orange card” for potential red-card offences.

Additional law trials proposed is the removal of the offence checked by the Television Match Official. If deemed a red card offence, the player does not return. If not, they return after 15 minutes, and also removing the choke tackle, with referees calling a “tackle” rather than a “maul” as well as awarding a free-kick rather than a scrum for when a team fails to “use it” at a scrum, ruck, or maul.
Speeding up rucks by cutting the “use it” time from 5 seconds to 3 seconds has also been proposed an optional law trial, as well as restricting the number of players who can join a maul and the time spent in the maul.

With tight-five forwards considered most at risk of transmission, World Rugby estimate that the changes could reduce scrum contact exposure by more than 30%, reduce contact exposure at the ruck by around 25%, and reduce maul contact exposure by at least 50%.
Hygiene measures being recommended include hand and face sanitization before and after a match, and ball washing before, during, and after games. Players will be asked to change their kit at half-time, and they have been advised to refrain from team hurdles and close contact celebrations. 

Spiting and nose clearing are highly recommended from doing. During training, scrum practice should be against a machine rather than another set of forwards, and high-transmission risk training, such as scrummaging and mauling, should be avoided within 48 hours of a match. 
– Adapted from www.rugbypass.com

Staff Reporter
2020-06-02 08:34:13 | 3 months ago

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