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Rugby league could scrap scrum to help finish season

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Rugby league could remove scrums in order to help finish the season after a proposal from officials.

The rule change could prevent more than 1,500 instances of close contact between players per game.

The sport’s laws committee met on Wednesday to discuss a number of changes which could help ease the return of the sport in August and ensure the campaign is concluded as planned.

Beyond the possible removal of scrums, other changes could see an increase in the number of permitted interchanges, in addition to a series of tweaks to align Super League with the NRL.


The introduction of the ‘six again’ rule would see attacking teams able to restart their tackle count after a ruck infringement.

But with the sport contending with Covid-19, an emphasis has been placed on considering the removal of scrums with medical experts present on the committee to display evidence that suggests the change would “considerably reduce” the risk of increased exposure to the virus.

Information was shared to suggest a one-on-one tackle constitutes one occurrence of close contact, while a single scrum equates to 132 instances.

That would result in over 1,500 occasions of close contact per match when considering the Super League average of 12 scrums per match this season.

Upon further advice from Public Health England, the Rugby Football League’s board will make a decision in the coming weeks, with the RFL’s CEO Ralph Rimmer is hoping the sport’s increased flexibility to consider rule changes can help them to conquer the unique challenges of the current climate.

“These are major recommendations, but these are unprecedented times, presenting the game with unique challenges,” Rimmer said. “We believe Rugby League is well-served by its agility, in terms of being able to consider and implement such significant changes.”

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