World Rugby have ramped up its safety measures against the spread of Covid-19 as the sport gets set to resume over the coming weeks.
The governing body has approved 10 optional laws which unions, including the IRFU, can choose whether or not to implement.
Concerns have hung over the return of rugby due to the contact nature of the sport, and in recognising the threat of transmitting coronavirus, World Rugby have looked at ways to reduce the risk.
New Zealand will be the first country to return to action when they kick off Super Rugby Aotearoa on June 13, but the Kiwi union have already confirmed they will not be introducing any of the proposed law trials.
It remains to be seen if any of the unions will opt to do so. World Rugby is eager to reduce the amount of time players spend in scrums and rucks, while they have also placed a huge focus on the tackle area.
An 'orange card' has also been suggested, which means that if a player is yellow-carded and the offence is subsequently deemed to be worthy of a red card, it can be upgraded on the back of the TMO's advice, in which case the player would not be allowed return following the sin-bin period.
World Rugby have also approved hygiene measures, including:
⬤ Mandatory hand and face sanitisation pre- and post-match.
⬤ Regular ball sanitisation before, during and after matches.
⬤ Single-use water bottles/hydration.
⬤ Changing of jerseys, shorts and headgear at half-time where possible.
⬤ Prevention of huddles and celebrations involving contact.
⬤ Prevention of spitting and nose clearance.
In terms of training precautions, it has been recommended that scrummaging should take place against a machine to limit exposure, with packs training separately.
Scrum and maul practice should take place at the end of a session, ideally a day before a 'down day', while high transmission risk training should be avoided within 48 hours of a game.
World Rugby's 10 optional law amendments read as follows:
1) Remove scrum resets when no infringement occurs (e.g. a collapse).
Sanction: Free kick to team who put the ball into the original scrum.
2) Hookers must use a 'brake foot' to aid scrum stability. Sanction: Free kick.
3) No scrum option on penalties or free-kicks.
4) Goal-line drop-out when an attacker is held up in-goal or knocks on in-goal.
5) The introduction of an orange card. Sanction: If the tackle is deemed a red-card offence while a player is in the sin bin, he/she does not return. If it's a yellow card or penalty only, the player returns after 15 minutes.
6) Remove choke tackle and reward for the defensive team. Sanction: Choke tackle called as a tackle must then present the ball and play.
7) The ruck "use it" duration time is reduced from five seconds to three seconds. Sanction: Free kick.
8) No scrum for failure to "use it" at scrum, ruck, or maul. Sanction: Free kick to non-offending team.
9) No one can join a maul if not in it at the start. Sanction: Free kick.
10) Only one forward movement at each maul. Sanction: Free kick.
Again, each of World Rugby's unions can select which, if any, of the above 10 law trials they may want to introduce.