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André Watson, South Africa’s manager of referees, has issued a statement on the Laws of the Game to be played for the rest of the year in South Africa, mainly as a result of the global introduction of experimental law variations from 1 August.

Rugby365 reports that firstly, the following should be noted:

1. The Super 14 and, in South Africa, the Vodacom Cup will be completed with the ELVs at present in use in the tournament.

2. Incoming International matches (Wales and Italy) will be played under the old laws. That means the ELVs will not apply at all.

3. On Friday, 9 May, a decision will be taken regarding the laws to be applied during the Tri-Nations.

4. The Currie Cup and all South African competitions starting in June will be played under the ELVs to be introduced globally on 1 August 2008. This will enable the competitions to be played under one set of laws.

5. 5. Clubs and schools in South Africa will continue playing with the full ELVs as they started doing this season till 31 May. They will then adjust to the latest ELV’s with effect from 1 June.

SARU will seek a dispensation not to test the ELVs to be trialled in the Northern Hemisphere regarding the unplayable ball at the tackle/ruck/maul and the sanctions of free kicks instead of penalty kicks.

Secondly there are the 13 ELVs, sanctioned by the International Rugby Board’s Council for introduction throughout the world from 1 August 2008.

A. General:

1. Touch judges will become assistant referees to assist the referee in any way which the referee requires

2. Cornerposts will no longer be considered to be in touch in-goal except when ball is grounded against the cornerpost.

B. Line-out and throw-in:

3. If the ball is taken back into the 22 and kicked directly into touch there will be no gain in ground.

4. Quick throw-in: A quick throw-in may be thrown in straight or towards the team’s own goal-line but the throw must cross the 5-metre line.

5. Line-out numbers: there is no restriction on the number of players who may participate in the lineout from either side.

6. Receiver at line-out: the receiver at the line-out must be 2 metres away from the lineout.

7. Opposition thrower: the player who is in opposition to the player throwing in the ball at a line-out may stand in the 5m area but must be 2 metres away from the 5-metre line.

8. Pre-gripping: line-out players may pre-grip a jumper before the ball is thrown in.

9. Lifting in the line-out: the lifting of lineout jumpers is permitted.

C. Maul:

10. Heads/shoulders height: remove law reference that heads/shoulder not to be lower than the hips.

11. Pulling a maul down: players are allowed to defend a maul by pulling it down provided they are part of the maul.

D. Scrum:

12. 5m-offside line: players not in the scrum (except for the scrumhalf) must be 5 metres behind the last foot in the scrum.

13. Scrumhalf offside lines: scrumhalves must be behind the ball on the throwing-in side of the scrum or behind the last foot if on the other side, or on the 5m-offside line.

Thirdly, some ELVs currently in use will NOT apply from 1 June – in line with the worldwide application effective from 1 August. This will mean the following:

a. Line-out:

i. An incorrect throw into a line-out will not result in a free kick.

b. Breakdown:

i. There will be no offside line at a tackle

ii. Hands in a ruck will not be allowed.

iii. Unplayable turnover : there will not be a free kick if the ball becomes unplayable at a tackle/ruck.

iv. Penalties at the breakdown will not be limited to entering through the gate and foul play.

c. Kick off and restarts:

i. An incorrect kick-off or restart will not result in a free kick to the opponents.

d. Sanctions:

i. Penalties will not be confined to offside and foul play only.

For any further clarity required, the South African Referees’ department should be contacted .