Rugby Australia are weighing up whether to implement any of World Rugby’s 10 optional temporary law amendments designed to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, in their upcoming domestic Super Rugby competition.
World Rugby’s executive committee has approved the optional law trials which cover scrum, tackle, ruck and maul situations.
The trials, underpinned by World Health Organisation guidance, were considered by a specialist Law Review Group consisting of coaches, players, match officials, medics and law specialists following the detailed analysis of 60 matches.
Unions can apply to implement one or more of the temporary law amendments as domestic trials in line with the world governing body’s return to play guidance.
The NRC would normally be the Australian competition used to trial changes.
But with the backlog of fixtures and delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is unlikely to go ahead this year.
RA will have more discussions about which, if any, of the World Rugby recommendations may be implemented for their Super Rugby tournament once the proposed competition is approved by their broadcast partner Fox Sports.
They would also need to get the approval of SANZAAR, the organisation which runs Super Rugby.
It is considered unlikely that SANZAAR would object to changes for a domestic tournament.
The four Australian Super Rugby sides plus the Western Force will participate in the competition, which has been provisionally pencilled in for July 3 to September 19, pending broadcasting approval.
Japan’s Sunwolves were also being considered for inclusion, but confirmation that they are unable to participate is expected soon.
In addition to the on-field law trials, a number of hygiene measures are recommended for playing and training.
These include mandatory hand and face sanitisation before and after the match and regular sanitisation of the match ball.
There would be single-use water bottles, kit changing at halftime, a ban on huddles and celebrations, while spitting and nose clearance is also discouraged.
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