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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
RFU looks into uncontested scrums
New Zealand and England prepare to engage in a scrum
The RFU is considering the future of the contested scrums
The Rugby Football Union is looking into whether it should recommend to the International Rugby Board that all scrums be uncontested.

A working party was set up after Matt Hampson was paralysed during scrum practice with England Under-21s.

"We hope to be in a position to make some recommendations by Christmas," Martyn Thomas, chairman of the RFU's management board, told The Guardian.

"In the case of law changes we can only make recommendations to the IRB."

Leicester prop Hampson, who is paralysed from the neck down, was released from hospital five weeks ago after 16 months of treatment.

It is interesting that France has depowered scrums below level three (amateur level)

Martyn Thomas
Thomas admitted uncontested scrums aroused strong feelings among rugby union fans.

"The issue of whether scrums should be depowered is an emotive one, not least because it would take us a step nearer to rugby league," he said.

"But there is another school of thought which says that as scrums are only a means of restarting a game, why should risks be taken.

"It is interesting that France has depowered scrums below level three (amateur level)."

Unions are concerned about the potential costs of catastrophic injuries, with lifetime care for a paralysed player estimated at 6-8m.

And rugby union is bracing itself for a legal challenge arguing that is has a duty of care to players under its authority.

If the RFU adopted uncontested scrums as a policy, it would have to make a recommendation to the IRB laws committee, which in turn would have to present a case to the board's full council.

Injured rugby star returns home
02 Aug 06 |  Leicestershire
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26 May 06 |  Health


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