AHEAD of this weekend’ big 2021 kick-off with the return of the Betfred Challenge Cup, the RFL has asked us to draw the attention of fans, and especially to those who will be watching all the action on Our League, to the new laws of the game.
The suspension of scrums, to reduce contact because of Covid, may only be temporary and will be reviewed at a later date.
Inevitably, there will be more hand-overs and play-the-balls and more flexibility for the attacking side in the lateral positioning of re-starts. ‘Six again’ will be ruled for any defensive ruck infringement that in the past would have resulted in a penalty; e.g, holding down, hand on the ball, crowding, leg pulls, markers not square etc.
The referee will signal ‘six again’ in the usual way for restarting the tackle count, raising a clenched fist above his head and waving from side to side.
York City Knights beat Sheffield Eagles 30-6 last night to be the first club through to round two. The other seven first-round ties take place today and tomorrow as follows:
SATURDAY: OLDHAM v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm); London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm); Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5.15pm); Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm), all shown live on Our League.
SUNDAY: West Wales Raiders (with Gavin Henson and Rangi Chase) v Widnes Vikings (12.45pm); Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Bulls (3pm); Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder (5.15pm).
The West Wales v Widnes and the Featherstone v Bradford ties will be shown live on BBC Sport, while the Swinton v Newcastle showdown will be streamed on Our League.
Second-round ties, to be played next weekend, will be Swinton or Newcastle v OLDHAM or Barrow; Featherstone or Bradford v Halifax or Batley; London Broncos or Keighley Cougars v York City Knights; West Wales or Widnes v Whitehaven or Dewsbury.