Chris Chester to call for return of scrums and for change to golden-point rule

Wakefield coach Chris Chester will push for the return of scrums at the earliest opportunity and for a change to the golden-point rule at the next meeting of the Rugby Football League’s laws committee.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 7:23 am
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 7:26 am
Chris Chester

Scrums were ditched when Super League resumed last August in order to reduce the number of close contacts in a game during the coronavirus pandemic and they remained absent when the 2021 season began in March.

However, the intention was to bring scrums back when conditions allow and certainly in time for the end-of-season World Cup, which will be played under normal laws.

Chester, who sits on the laws committee, is hoping the scrum will return as soon as possible.

“It’s in the fabric of our game,” he said. “We need scrums back. They’ve always been in our game and you get some good opportunities to attack from them.

“The sooner we get to playing normal rules the better.”

Chester expects the next laws meeting to take place in June when he will also call for teams to retain a point when they lose in extra time.

If the scores are level after 80 minutes, the teams play up to 10 more minutes and only share the points if there is no golden point score in added time.

“I know people will point out that we lost on Friday and we also lost out to golden point last season but I mentioned this two years ago,” Chester said.

“To have a point taken off you is pretty cruel. I like the concept but I think both teams should split the point.

“It will get mentioned in the next laws committee meeting, I’ll bring that up. I’ve always said you should be playing for that extra point.”

Trinity lost 15-13 to Leeds to a penalty in the first period of extra time but Chester says he has had confirmation from RFL match officials chief Steve Ganson that referee Robert Hicks made the wrong decision in awarding a penalty for a ball steal.

Chester says the committee will also consider the clampdown on head-high tackles in the NRL which has sparked a flurry of red and yellow cards and he will raise his own concern about players being fined for taking too long over goal kicks.

Meanwhile, Chester will welcome skipper Jacob Miller back for Sunday’s home game against Hull KR and hopes winger Tom Johnstone will not be far behind.

Stand-off Miller has missed his side’s last three matches with a knee injury but Chester said: “He trained well today I’m expecting Milky to play and that will be a big boost to everybody.”

Chester also hopes to have centre Bill Tupou back as Trinity look for their first win of the season and his winger Johnstone could be four weeks away from making his return from a series of concussions after receiving the all-clear from a specialist.

“The news we got was pretty positive,” Chester said. “He’s had no symptoms for a week now which is fantastic.

“We’ll up his training over these next two to three weeks.”

Hooker Jordan Crowther will be out for four to six weeks with a foot injury but Chester is confident prop David Fifita will play on Sunday despite sustaining a displaced fracture of a rib in the defeat by Leeds.

“We’re struggling at the minute,” he said. “We’ve got probably 12 players sat on the sidelines at the moment with some kind of issue. We had 17 out there training today.”