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Return of scums in Super League pushed back

Scrums will continue to be missing at the start of the new rugby league season, however they could be re-introduced later in the year if coronavirus restrictions allow.

Scrums were replaced with a handover of possession when the 2020 Super League campaign restarted last August.

The change was made in an effort to reduce close contact and minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmis­sions.

It is hoped scrums will return at Super League level to help players prepare for October's Rugby League World Cup.

The decision to stick with a handover of possession instead of scrums was taken by the Rugby Football League board on Wednesday following a recom­men­dation from its laws committee.

However, the shot clock application, which gives 30 seconds to restart the game from a scrum, has been removed.

"With Covid-19 remaining prevalent in society, the rein­tro­duc­tion of scrums could present additional risk to the health of the players, and would signi­fic­antly increase the number of close contacts in a match which could lead to more postpo­nements," the RFL's chief on-field officer Dave Rotheram said.

"Therefore the decision was made to maintain the position as at the end of 2020 for the start of the 2021 season.

"The laws committee agreed that the public health situation should be kept under constant review, and that scrums should be reintroduced as soon as possible - with the expectation that scrums will remain in the inter­national laws and therefore feature in the Rugby League World Cup in the autumn."

Meanwhile, six law changes for 2021 have been approved by the RFL board, which will be applied at all levels of the game.

These include a reward for 20/40 kicks, a handover of possession for an incorrect play-the-ball and flexibility for the attacking team on the lateral positioning of scrums.

But the RFL has opted not to copy the move by Australia's National Rugby League to double the value of drop goals to two points if they are kicked from at least 40 metres out, and decided against extending the six-again rule to include 10-metre offside infrin­ge­ments.

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