It’s fair to say that the temporaty World Rugby law amendments have not been universally accepted by the public. In a pursuit to reduce contact exposure in rugby and facilitate a quicker return to playing during the Covid-19 pandemic, ten optional law changes were announced on Thursday with the aim of reducing the amount of time in scrums, rucks and mauls. 


Reducing such fundamental elements of the game of rugby union has obviously led to suggestions that this is moving closer to rugby league, where in one instance the concept of a goal-line drop-out has been taken from the other code. 

On top of that, many have been quick to highlight that rugby is a contact sport, and that it is ultimately a tough job in overcoming that to reduce the spread of the virus. But many also are acutely aware that this is the best approach in seeing a return to rugby as soon as possible. 

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Ex-Saracens back row Jacques Burger guests on The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

Aside from the concerns that these law amendmens are a way of World Rugby speeding up the game through the backdoor, chiefly by reducing the number of scrums, fans have been cherry-picking which law changes could potentially be carried forward when normal service resumes. 

The idea of an orange card attracted some interest, as it will help with making fairer decisions by giving television match officials a greater chance to analyse an offence. 


Similarly, the goal line drop out idea has not been as emphatically dismissed as some other suggestions have. This will be awarded to a defending team when they have held the opposition up over their line, therefore eliminating the scrum. 


Many people have always seen the five-metre scrum as an unfair response to holding a team up, as it essentially rewards the attacking team with a platform to score and moreover punishes the defending team for their good defence. 

Other changes, such as removing the effectiveness of the choke tackle, have had different responses, which may largely be down to where people come from. 

The very fact that these changes are optional and have already been turned down by some unions – such as New Zealand’s upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa – suggests they may not be as damaging as some are fearing. 

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