The Australian Rugby Union has confirmed a raft of exciting law changes ahead of the start of the NRC which aim to improve the game for spectators;


Competition and Law Changes Notes
Reduce penalty goal and drop goal value to two points; and increase conversion goal value to three points • Most requested variation during idea submission stage of NRC Law variation process
• Places greater value on try scoring
• Already trialled in South Africa’s Varsity Cup
• Referees to be strong with cynical or repeated infringements
Instead of four try bonus point system, the winning team is awarded a bonus point for finishing three or more tries ahead of their opponents • Maintains ‘reward for risk’ aspect of matches for full 80 mins
• Currently used in France and in the ARU’s Junior Gold Cup
Pre-2013 TMO protocol to be used (i.e. for try scoring and in-goal situations only) • Reduces time wasted on referrals by limiting what can be referred


Referee Interpretation Changes Notes
If non-throwing team does not contest for the ball near where the ball is thrown, the referee may apply material effect and play on if the throw is not straight • Voted #1 variation by the public
• Designed to encourage every line-out to be genuinely contested
• Even if not straight, the ball must be caught within the line of the outside shoulder – i.e. the ball may not be deliberately thrown not straight
After time expires at half-time and full-time, if awarded a penalty kick, player can kick to touch and play the lineout • Voted #2 variation by the public
• The referee is the sole judge of time
• Allows a non-offending team all the options they are normally entitled to, and eliminates a negative tactic that can spoil the finish to a match
Reduced time limits down to 45 seconds for a penalty goal and 60 seconds for a conversion • Reduces time wasting
• Currently at 90 sec for conversions and 60 sec for penalty goals and is loosely monitored
Manage a time limit (30 seconds) to set a scrum • Reduces time wasting
• 30 seconds to start from when referee makes mark
• Allowance will be made for genuine injuries
• Ability to move scrum away from a minor injury to continue play
Defending half-back cannot enter area (“pocket”) between flanker and number 8 at scrum • Assists with continuous play
• Allows for dominant scrum and halfback to exert some pressure, but the halfback must not contact the scrum at any stage
Increased latitude in the area where quick taps can be taken at a penalty or free kick • Any tap must be taken from behind the mark, some leeway given on width
• All scrum penalty and free kicks must be taken by or in line with the number eight
More focus on applying Laws once maul formed • Aims to discourage the “hold up tackle” by ensuring that once defending players hold a ball carrier up and create a maul, they don’t then immediately collapse the maul to engineer a turnover
Quick throw-ins allowed even if touched by another player or person; must be same ball • Frees teams from a technicality that will allow for quicker play.
• If support staff or reserves deliberately touch the ball, a penalty kick is awarded 15m in.


What do you make of the new law changes for the NRC?