|The World Rugby Executive Committee has approved the addition of six law amendments to the programme of global law trials following positive trials in specific international competitions this year.
The amendments, which relate to the scrum (Law 20) and tackle/ruck (Laws 15 and 16), are aimed at making the game simpler to play and referee as well as further promoting player welfare. They have been approved following extensive game data analysis as well as player, coach, match official and union feedback from the tournaments in which these six aspects of law were trialled.
The six law amendments will now join the scheduled global law trial programme, completing a total package of 11 aspects of law, and will debut in full from 1 August, 2017 in the northern hemisphere and from 1 January, 2018 in the south.
The November 2017 tests will operate under the full global law trials, while Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 will operate under the package of five global law trials that has been operational in the southern hemisphere since January and was operational during the June test window.
The six aspects of law approved to join the global trial programme are:
1. Law 20.5 and 20.6 (d)
2. Law 20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum – exception
3. Law 20.8 (b) Striking after the throw-in
4. Law 15.4 (c)
5. Law 16 Ruck
6. Law 16.4: Other ruck offences
The six new aspects of law were part of the original 2015 laws review process, and were recommended to move to closed trial to provide a further analysis opportunity before global trial could be considered.
These closed trials were operational at this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship, World Rugby Nations Cup, World Rugby Pacific Challenge, Americas Rugby Championship and Oceania Rugby U20 Championship, with positive outcomes:
A comprehensive analysis was undertaken by the specialist Laws Review Group, the Scrum Steering Group, considering detailed and highly-positive union, player and match official feedback, before the recommendations were approved by the Rugby Committee and subsequently the Executive Committee. The trials were also considered at the high performance match officials and coaches meeting earlier this year.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby continually reviews the laws to ensure that the game is as enjoyable, simple and safe as possible at all levels. I would like to thank our unions for their full support throughout the process, the experts who evaluated the closed trial data and look forward to seeing the full results of the global trial.”
Rugby Committee Chairman John Jeffrey added: “These law amendments are designed to improve the experience of those playing and watching the game at all levels and to avoid negative play where possible. The results of the closed trials were highly-encouraging with more ball out from the scrum, fewer penalties and better stability, which has a player welfare benefit too.”
Implementation this year will enable at least a year of evaluation before the moratorium on law amendment begins a year out from Rugby World Cup 2019.
|Law Review Group members: Alain Rolland; Rhys Jones; Mark Harrington (all World Rugby); Nigel Melville (RFU); Ben Whitaker (ARU); David Nucifora (IRFU); Didier Retiere (FFR); Dave Rennie (NZR), Francesco Ascione (FIR); Rachael Burford (IRPA); Chris Paterson (SRU); Pablo Bouza (UAR); Paul Adams (WRU); Chean Roux (SARU). Previous inputs within the process include Paul O’Connell (IRPA); Eddie Jones (RFU); Nigel Whitehouse (WRU) and Dr Martin Raftery (World Rugby).
Law Review Group members were nominated by the top 10 unions (Six Nations and SANZAAR). Composition includes directors of rugby, coaches, players and referee representatives. Every World Rugby member union and all the regional associations had an opportunity to propose law changes and trials within the cycle. As part of the review process, all relevant footage is analysed independently against agreed success criteria, for desired and undesired results as well as looking for possible unintended outcomes (positive and negative).
Law review cycle 2015-18: