IRB introduces new law amendments


The International Rugby Board and its Member Unions have sanctioned a global trial of five aspects of Law amendments following an extensive process of consultation and evaluation.


The trial, approved by the IRB Council at its Annual Meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, will commence at the start of the next season in each hemisphere (August 2012 in the north and January 2013 in the south) and will be applicable to both international and domestic competition.

Aspects of Law approved for trial include limiting the time that the ball is available at the back of a ruck and the positioning of taking a quick throw-in. In addition to the suite of seven Laws approved for global trial, three additional trials will operate during 2012.

A trial extension of the jurisdiction of the Television Match Official will be introduced later this year, while the number of nominated replacements in Test Rugby will be increased to eight for a trial in the November window.

The global trial has been sanctioned after an unprecedented evaluation process that kicked off with submissions and recommendations for 20 potential amendments from Member Unions and has culminated with recent trials of amendments to seven aspects of Law as a package at dedicated playing environments in Cambridge and Stellenbosch.

This evaluation process is in line with the remit of the Laws Amendment Process approved by the IRB Council in December 2009.

Unlike previous amendment processes, the process of selection, monitoring and evaluation has been steered by an independent Laws Representative Group, comprising technical representatives from each of the 10 Tier 1 Unions covering elite and community Rugby and representatives of the IRB Rugby Committee.

Extensive evaluation of the Cambridge and Stellenbosch University trials undertaken earlier this year determined that each of the seven amendments could have a positive effect on the Game or clarify existing areas of Law and therefore a recommendation was made to the IRB Council via the IRB Rugby Committee to approve a global trial of all seven amendments.

The five Law amendments to be trialled globally are:

1. Law 16.7 (Ruck): The ball has to be used within five seconds of it being made available at the back of a ruck with a warning from the referee to “use it”. Sanction – Scrum.

2. 19.2 (b) (Quick Throw-In) For a quick throw in, the player may be anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and the player’s goal line.

3. 19.4 (who throws in) When the ball goes into touch from a knock-on, the non-offending team will be offered the choice of a lineout at the point the ball crossed the touch line; or a scrum at the place of the knock-on. The non-offending team may exercise this option by taking a quick throw-in.

4. 21.4 Penalty and free kick options and requirements: Lineout alternative. A team awarded a penalty or a free kick at a lineout may choose a further lineout, they throw in. This is in addition to the scrum option.

5. A conversion kick must be completed within one minute 30 seconds from the time that a try has been awarded.

In addition to the global trials, the IRB Council approved three specific additional trials:

1. A trial to extend the jurisdiction of the TMO to incidents within the field of play that have led to the scoring of a try and foul play in the field of play to take place at an appropriate elite competition in order that a protocol can be developed for the November 2012 Tests.

2. A trial has been sanctioned for the November 2012 Test window permitting international teams to nominate up to eight replacements in the match day squad for Test matches. In line with current practice at domestic elite Rugby level, the additional player must be a qualified front row player.

3. An amendment to Law 3.4 (Sevens Variation) to enable Sevens teams to nominate up to five replacements/substitutes. Under the revision, which will operate from June 1 2012, a team may substitute or replace up to five players during a match. Approval has been granted on player welfare grounds to recognise the additional demands on players and squads owing to the expansion of the HSBC Sevens World Series where there are three blocks of three events on consecutive weekends.

Council also approved the referral by the Laws Representative Group of one potential Law amendment that was successfully trialled at Cambridge and Stellenbosch for further consideration by the specialist Scrum Steering Group (overseeing scrum force project) to be considered alongside the ongoing review of the scrum.

The amendment that will be considered by the Group relates to the engagement sequence and will see the referee call “crouch” then “touch”. The front rows crouch then touch and using outside arm each prop touches the point of the opposing prop’s outside shoulder. The props then withdraw their arms. The referee will then call “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then set the scrum.

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the Game is as enjoyable to play, officiate and watch as possible at every level while player welfare is of paramount importance,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“Rugby is currently in good health with participation growing around the world, but there is collective responsibility to ensure that a structured process can be implemented to allow for global analysis and to monitor trends relating to the shape and character of the Game as it evolves.”

“The approval of five aspects of Law for global trial is the culmination of the Laws Amendment Process which was agreed by the IRB Council in 2009. The journey to this point has been exhaustive and collaborative and has involved full stakeholder consultation and I would like to thank Member Unions for their buy-in and commitment to the process from the outset.”

“The Laws Representative Group were encouraged by the outcomes of the initial trials in Cambridge and Stellenbosch. The next step is a global trial with full buy-in and which has been approved by Council on the basis that the amendments can have a positive effect on the playing of the Game.”

“The global trials are not fait accompli. It is essential at the end of the global trial process that decisions made are in the best interest of Rugby worldwide,” added Lapasset.

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  1. I see trouble or maybe an oppurtunity with the ball having to be used within 5 seconds. Picture this. Ball is in ruck. Becomes available ie just in front of the foot of the last player. Ref says use it. As soon as ref says it the heavies of the defending side start counter rucking. Scrummy can’t pick it up or is forced to make pass under pressure or get tackled with ball in hand.

    At least this time it was a South African ie me that thought of it first and not a filthy Aussie or cheating kiwi.

    Morne – send this to the the Boks and provinicial teams and then erase the post very hush hush – Ok?


  2. Reply to Morné @ 10:51 am:

    as long as it is done legally then scrum to the opposition – team going forward…
    As soon as the ref indicates that the ball is available and the 5 secounds start IMO

    When does the 5 secounds start? at the beginnning of the ruck or when the ball is available to the 9, if only when available to the 9 then the players in the ruck can extend the time by “hiding” the ball in the ruck and only make it available to the 9 after say 10 secounds

  3. on 15’s FB page they say that the Stormers have requested to get Ernst Joubert to cover for injuries etc…

    a comment also stated that WP vodacom side are on the verge of winning that comp… Surely they have some loosies that can make the step up to S15 rugby rather than showing NO faith in the WP youngsters by buying guys like Joubert etc!?

  4. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:36 am:

    The Canadian may not play in the
    knockout rounds – must have been
    signed before 1 April.
    Allister not happy.
    Apparently you can sign 35, he wants
    them to up it to 45.
    With all the injuries in the SS15 it
    could make sense, I suppose.

  5. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 12:05 pm:

    HM IS being taken to the cleaners by the squealing from the Cape.

    These rule changes are fucking crazy.

    It makes sense in isolation but the truth is it is more useless fucking tinkering and fucking up of the game for fucking nothing gained… what possible purpose can this 5 second rule cause? Nothing… all you need now is a forward to stand off with two supporters and make one mini maul after the other that collapses and make the ball available every five seconds….

    Oh wait… just like they STILL do and have done for the last seven years…


    One more reason for refs not to police ruck offside lines and illegal ball competing effectively..

  6. The clock should start once the contest for the ball is over. ie. Ball available at the base and opponents standing back to wait for play to resume. Only 5 sec. is way to long. 2 sec. would be better.

  7. Reply to Methos The French Stormer @ 4:22 pm:

    yes if I can

    What problem will this create for Australia and there chase for ENTERTAINMENT?? :roll:
    The attacking team will have to load the ruck with players to prevent Methos’s scenario that means the defending side can have more in defense hence… less ATTACKING rugby, more KICKING :wave:

  8. So a conversion can take 1min 30 secs (presumably a penalty kick can take as long?). Does the clock stop during this time? The time the kicker can take would seem generous when you consider that many rugby matches can easily involve 5 or more tries scored by both sides collectively and 5 or more penalty kicks at goal in total. If the kicker is slow and takes the entire time allotted that means 15 minutes spent on kicking! Add in the amount of time wasted in setting and re-setting the scrum and no wonder rugby league is gaining in popularity at the expense of rugby union. They have a simple, quick 6 man scrum and a simple 7’s type drop kick at goal taken immediately to convert a try.

  9. If they want to enforce these time limits effectively they need a play-clock as in American sports. No use-it warnings. Just a number of big clock displays visible to all and prrrrrrtt-you lose possession, whenever it goes to zero.

  10. Is die SSSL klaar dronk?

    Waar is die hype vir vanaand se raaisels, of is daar nie ‘n borg nie?

  11. die definisie van ‘n visserman is:

    Nat gat, koue voete en ‘n honger pens.

    Vat nou die kaapse winters: nat gatte, skurwe fokken krultone (dis al hoe hulle in die sand kan loop), en hulle honger is daar, as die fokken gautengers nie die beursie volmaak nie, vrek die fokken geseendes van god.

  12. Vrou is nog steeds by EXCO…. ek dink ek gaan vroeg crash vanaand… bietjie rooibos, bedjie, goeie boek (Erhard Manstein se Lost Victories) en dan lekker “paap” soos my babtjie altyd se.

  13. Ja ek kan nog nie lkang termyn forecast kry sover nie, maar tot middel Junie is die weer uitsigte goed… hel tot einde van die maand is daar geen reen of koue nie… tipiese hoieveld weer
    effe koud in die oggend weens die radiasie maar middag se kant toe lekker.

    Lug is ontsettend droog egter

  14. Ieder geval al reen dit in die Kaap en dis yskoud sal dit nog steeds lekker weer wees vir ons kinders… sal dit miskien daar naby kan sneeu in die berge? Ek sal so iets graag vir hulle wil wys…

  15. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 6:45 am:

    Don’t lie

    That’s all just proof of climate change which we all know is just an invention and a global conspiracy of liberal politicians and 99% of climatologists to raise taxes… on conservatives…

    There is no climate change taking place. Your March was on average 2’C hotter than ever before in 120 years of recorded history, but you just imagined it… or it was natural…

    You actually misread the temperature gauge.