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World Rugby approves trials aiming to restrict virus transmission

Bill Beaumont

World Rugby have approved ten domestic law trials as it attempts to create measures allowing rugby to be played safely by limiting to transmission of COVID-19.

The trials will focus on the scrum, tackle, ruck and maul and will be open to unions to tailor to their own territory-specific requirements.

Trial rules devised by the Law Review Group (LRG), formed of coahces, players, match officials and rugby lawmakers reviewed 60 matches as part of proposing new rules designed to limit exposure in contact.

They include the scrapping of scrum resets, limitations on the number of players able to join the ruck and a maul, reducing the ‘use it’ call from five to three seconds and a lowering of acceptable tackle height.

Research by World Rugby suggests contact exposure as a result of the new rules will reduce by up to 50 per cent.

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.”

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