Tuesday 21 February 2017

World Rugby announce sweeping rule changes to speed up the game

Published 18/11/2016 | 18:28

Teams can no longer kick the ball out of play from a penalty to finish a game when the clock goes red
Teams can no longer kick the ball out of play from a penalty to finish a game when the clock goes red

World Rugby have announced five new rule changes that will be trialled in 2017.

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One of the changes, to be trialled from 1 January 2017 in the southern hemisphere and from 1 August 2017 in the north, will see 7 points awarded for a penalty try. This means that no conversion will be required.

Another change will mean that if a penalty is awarded after the clock has turned red and kicked to touch, the team, whether attacking or defending, must take the lineout throw.

Under the new rule changes, if a team commits multiple penalty infractions in a phase of play, the opposing team will be able to choose the most advantageous mark.

Another law change sees the game continuing where a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area, even if it has crossed the touch or touch-in-goal line.

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 results of the global trial.”

Rugby Committee Chairman John Jeffrey added: "These law amendments, which will go to global trial next year, are designed to improve the experience of those playing and watching the game at all levels and to avoid negative play where possible. We will gather all the data from the trial and then present it to the LRG and Rugby Committee for further consideration.”

The British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017 will be played under the new rules.

The law changes set to be trialled globally are:

Law 3 Number of Players – The Team

3.6 (Uncontested Scrums)

- Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Reasoning: To discourage teams from going to uncontested scrums.

 

Law 5 Time

- Add to 5.7(e) If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.

Reasoning: To discourage teams from infringing in the dying moments of the game.

 

Law 8 Advantage

- Add to 8.1(a) When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.

Reasoning: To discourage repeat offending when advantage is already being played and to reward teams against whom repeat offending has taken place.

 

Law 9 Method of Scoring

9.A.1

- Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted.

Value: 7 points

Reasoning: To discourage teams from illegally preventing a probable try from being scored while also saving time on the clock by negating the need for a conversion.

Law 19 Touch and Lineout

- A player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball.

Reasoning: This brings into law something that is already applied in practice. It means that a player "juggling” the ball does not have to be in contact with it at the exact moment of touching the touchline or the ground beyond it for the ball to be deemed to be in touch. This makes it easier for the match officials to adjudicate.

- If a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area (or if that player catches the ball and throws it back into the playing area) before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches the plane of touch.

Reasoning: To simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

- If the ball-carrier reaches the plane of touch but returns the ball to the playing area without first landing in touch, play continues.

Reasoning: To simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

- In this case, if the ball has passed the plane of touch when it is caught, then the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch. If the ball has not passed the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

Reasoning: To simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

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