Law trials and changes set for 2017 and beyond



  • According to a media release from World Rugby (19 November 2016), five changes to law will be trialled globally next year, beginning on 1 January 2017 in the southern and 1 August 2017 in the northern hemisphere. The trial will last for an initial period of one year.

    The dates indicate, that the changed laws will be trialled in Super Rugby and NPC, but the media release also specifically indicates that the trialled laws will also be applied during the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour and June internationals.

    A package of law changes specific to rugby sevens will also be trialled from the start of the men's and women's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17 (Dubai 7s).

    The amendments concern aspects of the laws concerning front-row replacements, advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping:

    Law 3 Number of Players – The Team
    3.6 (Uncontested Scrums)
    Add (h) 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 (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. 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
    Add to definitions on page 117:
    • 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.
    
    Amend eighth definition on page 117:
    • 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. 
    
    Add to definitions on page 117:
    • 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. 
    
    Add to sixth definition on page 117:
    • 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. 
    

    With the exception of the change to Law 3, which is only for 15s, all these trials apply equally to 15s and rugby sevens.

    In addition, the following trials were approved for law changes in sevens only:

    * Finals should last no longer than seven minutes each half (rationale is player welfare – the evidence shows that a disproportionate number of injuries take place in the second half of finals. Injuries per minute are higher in the second half of finals as opposed to the first half and throughout normal matches of seven minutes each way.)
    * Referee Video Referral (RVR) to be taken out of on-field referees' hands with the ultimate decision being taken by the TMO – often difficult to see the screen and make a call. The RVR protocol remains unchanged. The TMO will be one of the pool of tournament referees
    * The restart kick must be taken within 30 seconds of a penalty kick or dropped goal being attempted where the kick is successful or goes dead.
    * Teams must form a lineout within 15 seconds from the time the referee indicates the place where the throw-in will take place.
    * Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 15 seconds from the time the referee indicates the mark of the scrum.
    * A penalty or free-kick must be taken within 30 seconds of being awarded.
    

    http://www.worldrugby.org/news/205710



  • Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?



  • @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    I suspect they have changed the definitions to make them consistent with current practice. They say that explicitly (see "Reasoning") about the first definition added to Law 19, but maybe it's also the case for the other definitions?



  • @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    The way i took that is that you can now bat a ball that has crossed the plane of touch back into play. Previously it was out if it crossed the plane i think.

    What i couldn't work out with the last one was if it now eliminates a player standing with a foot in touch and catch a ball in the field eg. To make it out on the full. Is that now a carried out by catcher situation?



  • I was wondering why the conversion for the penalty try was being removed but the rationale actually makes very good sense. Most of the law changes seem to be common sense and unobjectionable.



  • This plays into the hands of the All Blacks, and is great for the game. This will encourage up tempo games, with little kicking to touch. Guess who that benefits - you guessed it, us!

    Good work NZ Rugby and the IRB (and I don't often say that)

    simplification and promoting open play



  • I was worried we were going to see that stupid waist only tackling law listed in these. Phew.



  • @Kirwan That was my first thought, too, but this is a global trial and they only trial law changes globally after they have been trialled in smaller local/domestic competitions. That waist only tackling rule hasn't been trialled anywhere yet, and hopefully it stays that way!

    Interestingly, the media release says

    Some proposed law amendments did not win approval for global trial at this stage but will be examined further under closed domestic trial conditions to provide extensive data, player, coach and match official feedback for evaluation.
    

    I wonder whether this refers to those terrible rules that have been trialled in the Mitre 10 Cup this year.



  • @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    No real practical change (except one). The previous wording was a dogs bollocks and was superseded by common practice. This clears things up.
    The one change I can see is actually quite an interesting one that removes a 'clever' or 'negative' play. Currently if you are fielding a high kick coming down near the touchline you can plant a foot out and catch the ball. This makes it dead and deemed out on the full from the kicker.
    The way this new law is written that will only be the case if you catch the ball outside the plane of touch. If it isn't clear then you are deemed to have taken the ball out yourself.
    Tactically as a kicker you would want to be putting up accurate kicks coming down just inside the touchline which will put the catcher in two minds.



  • @Crucial said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    No real practical change (except one). The previous wording was a dogs bollocks and was superseded by common practice. This clears things up.
    The one change I can see is actually quite an interesting one that removes a 'clever' or 'negative' play. Currently if you are fielding a high kick coming down near the touchline you can plant a foot out and catch the ball. This makes it dead and deemed out on the full from the kicker.
    The way this new law is written that will only be the case if you catch the ball outside the plane of touch. If it isn't clear then you are deemed to have taken the ball out yourself.
    Tactically as a kicker you would want to be putting up accurate kicks coming down just inside the touchline which will put the catcher in two minds.

    @Crucial said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    The one change I can see is actually quite an interesting one that removes a 'clever' or 'negative' play. Currently if you are fielding a high kick coming down near the touchline you can plant a foot out and catch the ball. This makes it dead and deemed out on the full from the kicker.
    The way this new law is written that will only be the case if you catch the ball outside the plane of touch. If it isn't clear then you are deemed to have taken the ball out yourself.
    Tactically as a kicker you would want to be putting up accurate kicks coming down just inside the touchline which will put the catcher in two minds.

    Crucial is that Just like it was years ago before some clown dumbed it all down?



  • @Siam said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    @Crucial said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    No real practical change (except one). The previous wording was a dogs bollocks and was superseded by common practice. This clears things up.
    The one change I can see is actually quite an interesting one that removes a 'clever' or 'negative' play. Currently if you are fielding a high kick coming down near the touchline you can plant a foot out and catch the ball. This makes it dead and deemed out on the full from the kicker.
    The way this new law is written that will only be the case if you catch the ball outside the plane of touch. If it isn't clear then you are deemed to have taken the ball out yourself.
    Tactically as a kicker you would want to be putting up accurate kicks coming down just inside the touchline which will put the catcher in two minds.

    @Crucial said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    @Hooroo said in Global law trials set for 2017:

    Nothing really eye catching in a negative way. They all seem rather logical.

    In saying that I am not understanding what has changed player jumping and knocking ball back into playing area. How has that changed?

    The one change I can see is actually quite an interesting one that removes a 'clever' or 'negative' play. Currently if you are fielding a high kick coming down near the touchline you can plant a foot out and catch the ball. This makes it dead and deemed out on the full from the kicker.
    The way this new law is written that will only be the case if you catch the ball outside the plane of touch. If it isn't clear then you are deemed to have taken the ball out yourself.
    Tactically as a kicker you would want to be putting up accurate kicks coming down just inside the touchline which will put the catcher in two minds.

    Crucial is that Just like it was years ago before some clown dumbed it all down?

    Don't think so. It has always been a muddy area in the Law book which has lead to endless 'interpretations'. One of those interpretations was the one regarding whether the ball was moving or not. If it was still moving it was deemed out by the kicker, if stopped then out by the player in touch. They have cleaned this up by making everything dependent on the actually ball crossing the plane. Good change and could bring clever tactical kicking back as a better option in some circumstances e.g. low skidding kicks in the wet

    I note that the old law remains for ball in touch in goal though. They have now created two different rulings for different situations. IMO should be the same. A kick to the in goal shouldn't be made dead unless it goes over the dead ball/ touch in goal lines



  • Not a TRIAL, but a law change:

    World Rugby announces revised foul play sanctions and enhanced disciplinary processes (26 November 2016)

    Enhanced and modernised Regulation 17 framework to take effect from 3 January, 2017:

    (...) a new judicial policy will apply under the merit-based appointment scheme for elite 15s international matches, whereby World Rugby will appoint three-person judicial committees, wherever practicable, comprising one lawyer and two individuals with recent experience in the modern professional game (playing, coaching or refereeing). 
    
    While this process is also encouraged at other levels of the game, single judicial officers can continue to be appointed to deal with cases in those competitions as necessary, applying the same regulatory processes and sanction table in order to ensure all levels of the game are dealt with appropriately, proportionately and consistently. 
    
    Simultaneously, the Council resolved to expedite the scheduling and resolution of judicial hearings as quickly as practicable following a red card, citing or other disciplinary matter in order to provide teams certainty as early as possible for the purposes of team selection and travel arrangements for subsequent fixtures.
    
    A revised sanctions table will be effective from 3 January, 2017 and will be accompanied by game-wide education of disciplinary personnel to drive greater consistency of application across multiple competitions and jurisdictions. (...)
    
    * Tougher sanctions for dangerous play relating to the head
    * Revision of entry points to reflect modern game
    * Minor adjustments to other entry points to make them more practical for the aggravation and mitigation element of the sanctioning process
    * Equivalent, consistent adjustments to the underage sanctions table taking into account shorter seasons and other disciplinary measures at that level
    

    Revised World Rugby Regulation 17 sanctions table (pdf)



  • World Rugby has announced details of a zero-tolerance approach to reckless and accidental head contact in the sport.

    In a change to law, World Rugby has redefined illegal (high) tackle categories and increased sanctions to deter high tackles via a law application guideline. This will apply at all levels of the game from 3 January 2017 introducing minimum on-field sanctions for reckless and accidental contact with the head, effectively lowering the acceptable height of the tackle. The guideline will be supported with a global education programme.

    The approach, approved by the World Rugby Council after extensive expert, independent and union evaluation, combines with new disciplinary sanctions and a re-focus of match officials on dangerous play. It will provide a package of measures that aims to change culture in the sport to ensure that the head is a no-go area.

    World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby continues to be proactive in aligning with the latest evidence-based recommendations in this priority player welfare area to ensure players and coaches at all levels of the game are appropriately educated, managed and protected when it comes to head impacts and injury within the environment of a contact sport.

    “We believe that we are playing a leading role in terms of the development and implementation of best-practice interventions and this important study further reflects our commitment to an evidence-based approach to player welfare. We believe that the invaluable data from this study will inform the law review process and lead to changes in playing or training practices.”

    Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong said: “When it comes to protecting the head and neck of players, everyone is rightly very cautious now. The culture around concussion has completely changed and it’s no longer acceptable for players to continue in a game if they’re even suspected of having a concussion. When it comes to dealing effectively with concussion in sport, rugby is at the forefront. The International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA) supports any measure that protects our welfare and we are in favour of this initiative, which we believe will help further to reduce head and neck injuries at all levels of the game. Rugby is a physical sport and there will always be a level of injury risk associated with it but the sport is doing as much as it can to make it as safe as possible.”

    World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Martin Raftery added: “The findings of this important research study will also be prepared into a series of scientific articles that we aim to have published in peer-reviewed journals. We continue to welcome and facilitate all quality research for the betterment of the game in this priority area.

    “World Rugby is committed to playing a leading role in the sporting head injury agenda and continues to drive forward evidence-based strategies in education, prevention, management and research that are proving successful in protecting players at all levels of the sport.”

    From 3 January, 2017, two new categories of dangerous tackles will carry penalty offences to deter and eradicate high tackles:

    Reckless tackle

    A player is deemed to have made reckless contact during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game if in making contact, the player knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway. This sanction applies even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. This type of contact also applies to grabbing and rolling or twisting around the head/neck area even if the contact starts below the line of the shoulders.

    Minimum sanction: Yellow card
    Maximum sanction: Red card

    Accidental tackle

    When making contact with another player during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game, if a player makes accidental contact with an opponent’s head, either directly or where the contact starts below the line of the shoulders, the player may still be sanctioned. This includes situations where the ball-carrier slips into the tackle.

    Minimum sanction: Penalty



  • Wow. I have two issues with that.
    First the complete 'unfairness' (yes, I do know the world ain't fair) to lump completely accidental head contact in with everything else. I note that the words 'may still be sanctioned' are used placing it in the hands of the ref and/or citing official. I have no doubt that accidental contact will be judged on outcome rather than fault e.g lets imagine the Cane/Henshaw incident with Cane coming in lower but Henshaw spins and slips and gets KO'd. Does Cane really deserve a 6 week ban for that? Same scenario but the contact is glancing and Henshaw is OK to continue playing? Probably a penalty and warning.
    If I was coaching I would be getting all ball carriers in traffic to present their heads toward potential contact (ie drive head first). The potential for easy penalties and cards is obvious.

    This is the 'taken out in the air' story being re-written all over again and will go through numerous examples of crazy rulings before some sanity prevails and tweaks are made.

    My second issue with this is that WR state they have been working on this for some time to provide clear instruction on head contact to both players and refs. Why on earth did they hang refs out to dry with a half hearted 'clampdown' in the Autumn Internationals then? FFS give them the clear guidance or hold back on the change.

    After a re-read of that above I'm also adding a third grizzle. That is all written as if tackles are the only danger to head injury. We still have the stupid rulings that kicking at a ball near a players head is not 'dangerous play' and that any contact made can be ruled accidental and get off scot free despite the act itself being a deliberate taking of high risk.



  • Also doesn't address people who duck their head into tackles. The irish are great examples of this - the running style of a lot of them looks coached to be head down, leading with the head. If it is such a risk, then they are putting themselves at risk of head injury



  • the accidental contact doesn't sit well, will they take into account the falling player, afterall, this contact will still be accidental, but totally out of the control of the tackler, and as above, those attackers that lead with the head, no onus on them to change?

    I think maybe if they simply lower the target line, as Collins had to do at one point, it should help in reducing the ones like Fekitoas, but wont stop ones like with Cane or other purely accidental contacts.



  • @nzzp said in Law trials and changes set for 2017:

    Also doesn't address people who duck their head into tackles. The irish are great examples of this - the running style of a lot of them looks coached to be head down, leading with the head. If it is such a risk, then they are putting themselves at risk of head injury

    I found that very noticeable in the ABs game after all the furore as well. I guess you could only compare the same players in other games to see if it is being coached into them but it makes sense especially in one off charges to lead with the head inviting accidental contact.
    There was one penalty in the game (Moody?) in exactly that fashion. He had nothing to tackle except the head and shoulders, went for the shoulders and got pinged for it.



  • This tweet from World Rugby contains a video with some examples of this law change and the link to the official media release that @Daffy-Jaffy has posted. I don't know about you, but I think we're going to see a lot of players being penalised for accidental contact with the head, exactly as @nzzp says, because ball carriers duck or dive with their head first or otherwise with a downward movement of the head/neck/shoulders (increasing the risk of an initially well-placed tackle slipping to the head area).

    I hope that unions/teams/players will not enter guilty pleas if they are cited for such accidental contacts, and instead contest the charges if it is the result of the ball carrier moving downward/head first. Abuse of the new law should be prevented right from the start.



  • I'd also like to see stats on the causes of concussion in rugby. Are the majority really the result of high tackles, or does poor tackling technique play a big role (which obviously isn't addressed by this law change)? If the majority of head injury cases is not the result of high tackles, doesn't that just make this law change a complete farce (like those stupid law trials in Mitre 10 Cup) and possibly a knee-jerk to moaning (mostly NH) media?



  • @Stargazer said in Law trials and changes set for 2017:

    I'd also like to see stats on the causes of concussion in rugby. Are the majority really the result of high tackles, or does poor tackling technique play a big role (which obviously isn't addressed by this law change)? If the majority of head injury cases is not the result of high tackles, doesn't that just make this law change a complete farce (like those stupid law trials in Mitre 10 Cup) and possibly a knee-jerk to moaning (mostly NH) media?

    Yep. Head on hip, head on knee are surely the biggest causes


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