New Zealand Rugby has announced that it will not be following the World Rugby proposals limiting players contact.
WR’s scheme includes banning scrum resets, prohibiting mauls, forbidding team huddles, and vetoing upright tackles in the Super Rugby Aotearoa happening in June. The plan is not a prerequisite for playing, though. WR said that these are simply moves being considered to reduce the chance of transmitting the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and the final decision will be left to national bodies.
The WR Medical Group also wants scrums replaced, mauls removed completely, lineouts to be uncontested, and spitting and team huddles being scrapped altogether. Players should also change their headgear and kits at half-time, they say.
But NZR Chief Executive Officer Mark Robinson has said that none of these rules will be in place when the new local competition kicks off on the 13th of June. He explained that there are no signs of community transmission here, so our country has a different set of circumstances that need to be considered.
Robinson said that NZR has been open with WR about this and that the governing body understands our unique situation. He says that this doesn’t mean that health risks won’t be taken seriously, though, and that stringent protocols are being followed as set out by Kiwi public health authorities.
These include daily temperature and symptoms checks, rigorous hygiene and cleaning habits, and contact tracing practices. He added that anyone feeling unwell is to stay away, self-isolating and getting tested at once.
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