COULD the temporary abandonment of scrums be extended even when more carefree post COVID-19 days return?

Although scrums are neither the most pressing matter nor biggest casualty as we all deal with the pandemic and its consequences, their permanent removal would be a bit of a turning point for rugby league.

Maybe it would be a logical next step ­— after all none of the players’ positions that derive their names from the scrummage are longer defined by what they do in the set piece.

Scrum halves no longer have to scrap with their opposite number for the ball at put in, nor do they have to master the art of a wonky feed.

And for years, hookers that have managed that rare strike against the head invariably look up to see the ref ruling re-scrum.

Scrums as a competitive restart have largely been denigrated because it is clearly deemed the team that has knocked on or run into touch does not deserve even a 30/70 chance of getting the ball back.

And yet scrums’ permanent removal would rob the game of something.

The first thing is that scrums bring a natural break, something that the players have factored into the way they play, train and condition their bodies.

Of course, we have seen the positives that fatigue brings - with twinkle-toed players relishing running at those gaps late in the game.

Although we are now seemingly in a society where we want to cut straight to the thrills and end product, that stoppage in play does give the players and the fans a short time to reflect on what is happening.

Secondly, as former Saints coach Justin Holbrook demonstrated, it is a perfect platform to put on a swift set-piece move either at close quarters from the base of the scrum, or by getting that extra man in at corner with very swift, accurate passing.

Who could forget that move from James Roby from the loose forward spot, sending a breakaway second row Zeb Taia in for that second try at Old Trafford last season.

Lastly, scrums are part of the game’s DNA - we would lose part of the sport’s character by doing away with them permanently.