Leeds Rhinos v St Helens - First Utility Super League Semi Final
LEEDS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Leeds Rhinos and St Helens in the scrum during the First Utility Super League Semi Final between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)

The Super League are looking at ways to limit the risk of players from potentially catching COVID-19, and are leaning towards scrapping scrums and bringing in the six-again rule as the NRL has done as a COVID-19 precaution, reports NRL Media. 

Given the COVID-19 situation in England, these changes are being seriously considered by the Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs and will further discuss the possibilities of it in early July’s RFL Board meeting.

Still awaiting further information on the changes put on the table by Public Health England, the RFL Laws Committee have strongly suggested scrapping scrums in games for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Medical experts provided a strong case that the removal of scrums could be a strong way to prevent players from catching COVID-19 and therefore would also not cause a disturbance on the season and the fixture should there be a positive test.

The six-again rule, which the NRL implemented this season, has also been seen as a way to remove the chances of players contracting the virus.

It’s believed that the quicker ball movement could result in less tackles and could make for a more free flowing game which would also ultimately result in players become less in close contact with each other.

“These are major recommendations, but these are unprecedented times, presenting the game with unique challenges,” RFL CEO and chair of the Laws Committee Ralph Rimmer told NRL Media. 

“The Committee recognised the importance of consulting widely within the game before the recommendations are put to the RFL Board, and that process has already started. But we believe rugby league is well-served by its agility, in terms of being able to consider and implement such significant changes.”

Some other changes that the RFL are looking into bringing in to prevent any chance of players contracting COVID-19 include – 1) When a team kicks out on the full, play will be restarted by a play-the-ball rather than a scrum; 2) The restart following a mutual infringement (such as the ball hitting the referee or a trainer) will be a play-the-ball rather than a scrum and 3) restrictions on the legal point of contact for a third defender in an upright tackle, which must now be above the knee.

“The recommendation to adopt a number of the rule changes that have been introduced in the NRL in 2020 will also assist in the important process of aligning the rules across both hemispheres,” Rimmer said.