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Scrums could be endangered species as rugby seeks route to return

World Rugby are to consider changing some laws within the game to speed up its return.  Due to t...

World Rugby are to consider changing some laws within the game to speed up its return. 

Due to the close contact involved in scrums and mauls, rugby is deemed one of the most high-risk sports in a COVID-19 world. 

In Ireland, the sport is not allowed resume in an official capacity until phase 5 of the government's Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business on August 10.

The Times report that scrums and mauls are the two particular areas of interest to World Rugby’s Law Review Group as they look to get the game back up and running at grassroots level.

They want to minimise contact time as much as possible.

In football, the Premier League enlisted STATsports to draw up a player proximity white paper, the results of which shows the average close contact in training lasts just over three seconds.

Rugby's lawmakers are aiming to get a similar handle on contact times to eliminate as much risk as they can from the game.

"The face-to-face contact in the scrums and rucks is unique and that is what is being looked at closely", a source told the paper.

Proposals for reducing contact time have yet to be finalised, but it's believed a free-kick could replace a scrum.

Mauls could be eliminated entirely, while line-outs could go uncontested.

"The idea is to provide some options for the professional and the community game below that, particularly if they do not have access to testing," the source added.

Meanwhile, the IRFU are targeting a return to the pitch for the provinces on August 22 and 23.

An inter-provincial series is to be held behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium - at least that's the hope of the association.

"What determines when players are going to go back to train, is when the competitions start," Browne said, when asked about a timeline for a resumption.

"There's no purpose in training just for training's sake. It's only a means to an end, and the end is actually taking part in competitive rugby.

"By and large, the view is that it's going to take six-weeks - maybe longer if we have more time - to get the players back up to speed".

Browne says they're consulting with health officials and will continue to do so with regards the protocols that will need implementing to stage games safely.

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Aviva Stadium Coronavirus Covid-19 IRFU World Rugby