The Rugby Football League have confirmed the return of scrums across all levels of the sport in 2022.
The announcement follows meetings with clubs from Super League, Championship and League 1.
The RFL Laws Committee recommended the return of scrums for the 2022 season at their December meeting. As long as 85% of players across the Super League and Championship competitions had been double vaccinated.
Considering the recommendations later in December, the RFL Board deferred a final decision until January.
The 85% threshold has now been reached across Super League and the Championship. Other relevant factors include the increases in knowledge regarding the impact of the Omicron variant since December, reduced isolation periods for close contacts, and the views of clubs and other key stakeholders.
Scrums have been suspended in July 2020
The Board have therefore accepted a recommendation from the RFL Executive for scrums to return – in all competitions, starting next weekend (29-31 January). That will include round one fixtures in the Championship and the second round of the Challenge Cup.
This will also apply across the Community Game.
Scrums were suspended from all levels in the UK following a recommendation from the Laws Committee for the restart of the 2020 season in July. This was to help minimise the risk of positive cases of Covid-19 being transmitted, or of players being forced to isolate as close contacts and therefore missing subsequent fixtures.
Scrums to return across all competitions in 2022
The meetings also provided a final opportunity for clubs to input into the changes to the Covid fixture framework to apply in the 2022 Season: this will now go to the RFL Board for final sign-off.
As previously advised it is envisaged that the Covid framework under which league positions were determined by win points percentage in the 2020 and 2021 seasons will be replaced. Any team unable to fulfil a fixture will forfeit the match with a 48-0 scoreline – save in exceptional circumstances to be determined by the RFL Board. That would include a club being unable to play a match due to being required to shut down by either the RFL’s Multiple Case Group or Public Health England.
The meeting of Super League clubs also discussed recent developments related to travel between France and the UK. That included the likely effects on the ability of unvaccinated players to participate in fixtures involving Catalans and Toulouse in France.
With three weeks remaining until the French clubs play their first matches against UK opposition in the 2022 season, the matter will be kept under review.
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