Coronavirus wrap: European Tour golf returns July but Dutch GP put back to 2021

NRL season resumes and World Rugby offers unions chance to trial temporary law amendments.

By Press Association Published: 28 May 2020 - 1.55pm

The European Tour will resume in July with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the UK, but the Dutch Grand Prix has been put back until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has seen the golf calendar wiped out since March 8, but a return date has now been set with the British Masters at Close House near Newcastle the opening tournament on July 22.

The season will run through until December, with all tournaments played behind closed doors and subject to strict safety and testing protocols.

In Formula One, the Dutch Grand Prix’s return has been postponed due to Covid-19.

The race is being revived for the first time since 1985 and was originally due to be staged on May 3, with organisers hoping to stage it later this year after its initial postponement.

But with sporting events in Holland under tight restriction due to the pandemic, the decision has been made to move it to next year.

In rugby league, Parramatta Eels triumphed 34-6 over Brisbane Broncos as NRL’s return brought professional sport back to Australian soil.

The occasion began with a failed temperature test for Brodie Croft, with host broadcaster Fox Sports reporting the Broncos half-back twice recorded temperatures over the allowed limited on arrival at Suncorp Stadium.

The 22-year-old passed clear at the third time of asking and went on to score a fine solo try but it was in a losing cause as the Eels proved too strong.

In rugby union, World Rugby’s executive committee has approved 10 optional law trials that provide member unions with measures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Unions can apply to implement one or more of the temporary law amendments as domestic trials in line with the world governing body’s return to play guidance.

A World Rugby statement said the trials “provide limits to scrum options with no scrum resets, limits for players joining rucks and mauls, time to play the ball at the base of scrums and rucks reduced from five to three seconds and only one movement permitted for a maul.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has been speaking about coronavirus changes
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has been speaking about coronavirus changes (Brian Lawless/PA)

The trials, underpinned by World Health Organisation guidance, were considered by a specialist Law Review Group consisting of coaches, players, match officials, medics and law specialists following detailed analysis of 60 matches.

World Rugby say the ruck and maul measures could “reduce contact exposure for tight five players by more than 30 per cent, reduced exposure at the ruck by up to 25 per cent and reduce maul exposure by 50 per cent.”

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The health and well-being of the rugby family is paramount.

“The health and well-being of the rugby family is paramount”
- World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont

“We have extensively evaluated the perceived risk areas within the game in partnership with our unions. This has enabled an evidence-based assessment of risk areas and playing positions, which led us to develop optional temporary law amendments.”

The 10 optional law trials cover scrum, tackle, ruck and maul. The two recommendations on tackling are to reinforce the high tackle sanction framework for high tackle offences and to remove the choke tackle from the game.

In addition to the on-field law trials, a number of hygiene measures are recommended for playing and training.

These include mandatory hand and face sanitisation pre- and post-match, regular sanitisation of the match ball before during and after matches, single-use water bottles, changing kit at half-time, prevention of huddles and celebrations, prevention of spitting and nose clearance.