Brad Weber, Leon MacDonald object to medical report's suggested changes for Covid-19 - 'May as well play touch'

Chiefs halfback Brad Weber and Blues coach Leon MacDonald have both voiced their concerns at a potential rule change that could drastically effect scrums in rugby union.

Source: 1 NEWS

With World Rugby looking at ways to reduce the potential transmission of Covid-19 as the game returns, a medical group has released a report proposing scrum resets - along with upright tackles, team huddles and spitting - be scrapped.

Five-Test All Black Weber didn’t mince his words when he was asked about the proposal.

“I think that is ridiculous,’’ Weber said. “Because when you are making tackles or cleaning out, it [the contact] is pretty much exactly the same.

“You may as well play touch rugby. That is what they are suggesting.’’

The report argues with scrum resets taking up almost four minutes of game time, banning them could reduce high-risk transmission exposure time by 30 per cent.

The report also recommends players change their uniforms and headgear, wash their hands and faces during the halftime break, and that match balls be switched and cleaned when possible during the game.

MacDonald said the changes would have too much impact on the game.

"Look, if we play the game, we have to play it properly," MacDonald said.

"We are taking all the right precautions and wherever possible, we will adhere to the safety recommendations, but once you get on the park and you're tackling and all that, you have to be ready to play.

"I think we probably would have had a directive by now, if we were going to have no scrums, so we are expecting everything to look like rugby when we resume."

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson reassured players and coaches this morning New Zealand competitions won't play under those rules.

Robinson told RNZ the proposal is designed to get the game "safely back on the field in difficult circumstances in the northern hemisphere".

"There don't appear to be any signs of community transmission in New Zealand so our circumstances are quite different and we don't anticipate the need to adopt the law proposals," he said.

"We have been open with World Rugby about this and they understand our unique situation.

"We will continue to manage all health risks with stringent protocols and be lead by our public health authorities.

"The protocols including daily symptom and temperature checks, stringent hygiene and cleaning, contact tracing practices, and asking anyone who feels unwell to stay away, self-isolate and get tested."