The approved changes are intended to limit the contact and proximity of players in stages of the game in which it is most accentuated, such as ordered formations [‘mêlées’], spontaneous formations on the ground [‘rucks’], spontaneous high formations [‘mauls’ ] and tackles.
The measures were suggested by the body’s Law Review Group, after a detailed analysis of 60 games of the sport, and took into account the guidelines of the World Health Organization, which determine a high risk of contagion after 15 minutes less than one meter from an infected person.
In this way, the committee estimates to reduce exposure to contact in the scrum and the maul by 30%, while the reduction of the risk of contagion in the ruck will be around 25%. The explanatory document for the changes does not quantify the risk reduction in the placements.
Among the changes, we highlight the elimination of the repetition of ordered formations when there is no infraction, the impossibility of opting for this type of training in penalties, the reduction of the time available to remove the ball from the ‘ruck’ from five to three seconds and the ban on joining the maul for players who have not formed it from the beginning.
In addition to changes to the laws of the game, several sanitary measures were also approved, such as regular disinfection of the ball, the obligation to wash hands and face before and after the end of matches, the impossibility of sharing water bottles, the exchange of equipment and helmets at break whenever possible, the prohibition of gatherings or celebrations with physical contact and the prohibition of spitting or blowing on the lawn.