Former England international Freddie Burns has shed light on a unique way in Japan for settling drawn matches – the rival captains pick an envelope to determine the winner of the match, a system he wonders could be used in the Gallagher Premiership to decide who gets the points for cancelled games in England. 

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Burns left Bath when the 2019/20 season ground to a sudden halt last March and the out-half has since linked up with Japanese club Shuttles.    

He has now shared with his followers on Twitter the conclusion of a recent university match which had ended 19-19, whereupon the captains of each side picked an envelope, with one revealing the winner. 

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Goodbye 2020!

Extra-time is not common in knockout rugby, but it has certainly been seen a number of times before, most recently in determining the winner of the Autumn Nations Cup final featuring England versus France at Twickenham. 

A penalty shootout has even been seen in the Heineken Cup, Leicester qualifying for the  2009 European final at the expense of Cardiff following a drawn semi-final at the Millennium Stadium where extra-time couldn’t separate the sides. 

But this use of an envelope in Japan was an unfamiliar way to determine winners for most rugby viewers. However, in a climate where there are almost as many games cancelled as there are played, this could be the beginning of a trend. It would at least provide some action to determine a result rather than what is currently happening in the Premiership and in Europe where committees are meeting to determine the outcomes of cancelled games.  

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Burns tweeted: “Thoughts on this kind of thing coming into Premiership rugby when a game can’t be played due to Covid? After a 19-19 draw in the Uni knock out stage, instead of extra time the captains pick an envelope to decide to winner. #onlyinJapan”

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