Exciting law trials will take place in national competitions during 2015-16 season with the successful ones taken forward to global trial from 2017.
Six-point tries and two-point penalties and dropped goals are being trialed in Wales and Australia under World Rugby’s auspices as part of proposed law changes to make the game safer and more enjoyable.
The value of tries rose from four points to five in 1992, while penalties and dropped goals have been worth the same three points since 1948. By increasing the value of tries to the same as American football’s touchdown, World Rugby want to further reward tries over goalkicks.
The “crouch-bind-set” scrum engagement has also been amended. Now, the front rows must come together at the referee’s first command to crouch, instead of third command to set. That’s designed, especially at elite level, to reduce the number of collapses and resets.
Mauls must also start moving within five seconds, otherwise it’s over, and even if a team exhausts its front-row options and must play uncontested scrums, it must still put eight men in a scrum.
Proposed laws were previously tested in closed trials, but World Rugby sought more meaningful testing and feedback, and reached agreement to try the changes in the ongoing Principality Cup in Wales, and the National Rugby Championship in Australia.
They will expand next year into the likes of the Pacific Challenge, Tbilisi Cup, European Nations Cup, and Under-20 World Trophy. Feedback will be sought in mid-2016, and a decision made late next year whether to begin global trials. Any new laws wouldn’t be passed until 2018.
3.5(h) Front row replacements and substitutions To discourage teams from going to uncontested scrums, if, because of a sending off or injury, a team cannot provide enough suitably trained front row players, the match continues with uncontested scrums, the scrums have to be played with eight players per side.
Law 5.7(e) Other time considerations In order to increase the penalty for infringing in the dying moments of the game, if time expires and a mark, free kick or penalty kick is then awarded, the referee allows play to continue. If time expires and a player then kicks to touch from a penalty kick anywhere in the playing area, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken, and play continues until the next time that the ball becomes dead.
Law 8.1(a) Advantage in practice For multiple penalised infringements, the referee has the discretion to allow the captain of the team for whom the penalty has been awarded, to choose from which of the points of penalty on the field, the penalty may be taken. 8.1 “(a)” Add sentence (italics): (a) The referee is the sole judge of when a team has gained an advantage. The referee has wide discretion when making decisions. The referee may consult with the team captain in deciding which the greater advantage to his team is. The rationale can best be outlined by an example. Reds v Blacks. Red attack on Black 22, 5 metres from touch. Referee plays advantage to Red. Play moves to mid-field/some forward progress. Black infringe again, no advantage possible, referee awards PK. Depending on the score/time, the most advantageous position for the PK may be at place of first infringement (kick to touch and line-out) OR at the place of the second infringement (kick at goal.) It seems reasonable and positive for the referee to consult with the captain in such instances.
Law 9.A.1 Points values Following extensive union feedback, the LRG recommended to Rugby Committee that the following values attached to methods of scoring be trialled to promote the continuity of the match and reward scoring tries over penalties. Try: 6 points Conversion: 2 points Penalty Goal: 2 points 2 Dropped Goal: 2 points Law 9.A.1 Points values Penalty try If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. The conversion kick shall not be taken after a penalty try is awarded. Value = eight points as above.
Law 13,3, 13.7, 13.8, 13.9 Kick-off and restarts To increase ball in play time, penalise poor kicks and reduce scrum time, the sevens variations for kick-off sanctions will apply: Free kick at the centre of the halfway line. There is not a scrum option from this free kick.
Law 17.6 (d) and (e) Unsuccessful end to a maul In order to avoid the ball being out of vision and to promote fair contest, a maul must start moving forward within five seconds it was started. If it does not do that and if the referee can see the ball, a reasonable time is allowed for the ball to emerge but the maul is ended. If it does not emerge within a reasonable time, a scrum is ordered.
Law 19 Touch Simplify the law relating to touch for officials, players, coaches and fans, promote consistency across the game and increase ball in play time. Who has taken the ball into touch is determined by who last had possession or played the ball before the ball went into touch. a) Clarify the existing law definition at the front of the law book so that a player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball. This is existing practice and means that a player does not have to be in contact with the ball at the moment the player touches the touchline for the ball to be in touch. This clarification makes it easier for the match officials to judge whether or not the ball is in touch if the player is “juggling” with it in an attempt to bring it under control b) Permit a player to jump from the playing area and return a ball to play that has reached the plane of touch provided the player does so before he or she lands in touch. c) Permit a ball carrier whose momentum takes him or her over the touchline, to return the ball to play provided that neither the player nor the ball lands in touch before the ball is released. d) Change the law so that a player who is in touch who catches or picks up a ball that has not reached the plane of touch is deemed to have taken the ball into touch. 3 e) There is no proposal to change the existing law that permits a player, who is in touch, from playing a ball that has not reached the plane of touch providing that the player does not take possession of the ball while the player is in touch.
Law 20.1(g) Forming a scrum While the ‘crouch, bind, set’ engagement sequence has achieved its objective of reducing scrum injuries by reducing forces on engagement by 25 per cent and reducing front row injuries by 50 per cent the rate of completions remains low at the elite level of the game. The following law amendment trial is designed to promote stability and speed of ball availability, reducing the number of collapses and resets. The referee will call “crouch” and then “bind” In the “crouch” position the front rows will be shoulder to shoulder with their opponents, stable and supporting their own weight without pushing On the “bind” call the props will position their arms in the correct ‘bind’ position. [The correct ‘bind’ is as outlined in current Law 20.1 (g)] The front rows (+ back 5 players) will tighten binds and set themselves for the throw-in. The ball is then thrown-in without delay,
Law 20.5 Law 20.5 Throwing the ball into the scrum The rationale is that the scrum-half (No.9) may receive a signal from his hooker (No.2) that the hooker is ready. This may encourage the No.2 to prepare to strike for the ball. The proposal is intended to give the advantage to the team throwing-in the ball. The scrum must be stable prior to feed, and the ball fed without delay in accordance with current Law.
Law 20.6(d) How scrum-half throws the ball into scrum The scrum half must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align his shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing him to stand a shoulder width towards his side of the middle line. This is designed to further promote scrum stability and enhance player welfare by reducing the pressure on the hooker striking the ball. 4
Law 20.11 Wheeling the scrum In order to promote, quicker, completed scrums and enhance player safety, the law trial is aimed at discouraging the team not in possession from wheeling the scrum. 20.11 (b) will be applied as follows: The new scrum is formed at the place where the previous scrum ended. If neither team win possession, the ball is thrown in by the team that previously threw it in.
Law 22.13 Attacking infringement with scrum sanction If an attacking player commits an infringement in the in-goal area which would have resulted in a scrum had it occurred within the field of play, and a defending player has made the ball dead or it has gone into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, play is restarted with either a five-metre scrum and the defending team throws the ball in OR a five-metre line drop out. The five-metre line drop out will be treated as per the 22m drop out. The 5 metre drop out can occur anywhere along the five-metre line.
Law 22.16 Infringements in goal AMEND THE SECOND PARAGRAPH TO READ: A knock-on or a throw forward by the defending team in the in-goal results in a five-metre scrum opposite the place of infringement and the attacking team throws the ball in. ADD A THIRD PARAGRAPH: A knock on or a throw forward by the attacking team in the in-goal results in either a five-metre scrum and the defending team throws the ball in or a five-metre line drop out taken anywhere along that line.
Where the package of laws will be trialled Law trial ARU National Rugby Championship WRU Principality Premiership WRU Colleges RFU Army Premiership World Rugby Pacific Challenge Cup World Rugby U20 Trophy World Rugby Nations Cup World Rugby Tiblisi Cup FFR Academy league Aug – Dec 15 Sep 15 to Apr 16 Sep 15 to Apr 16 Sep 15 to April 16 Mar-16 Apr/May 2016 Jun-16 Jun-16 Oct to Dec 15 Front Row replacement s √ √ √ √ √ Penalty option after time expired √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ Advantage in practise √ √ √ √ √ Points Value: 6 for try and 2 for kicks √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ Points value: 8 for Penalty try with no conversion √ √ √ √ √ √ √ Mandatory Free kick for kick off/ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 6 restart offences Unsuccessf ull end to Maul √ √ √ √ √ Touch √ √ √ √ √ Scrum formation and sequence √ √ √ √ Scrum Half determines when to put the ball in √ √ √ √ 5m line drop out for attacking offences in goal √ √ √ √ √ Wheeled scrum – penalty sanction √ √ √ √ √