World Rugby announced on Wednesday that South Africa’s premier domestic competition, the Currie Cup, will align with the Northern Hemisphere as they trial the recently-announced law amendments. The modifications that will be trialed in the Currie Cup will affect primarily the ruck, tackle and scrum areas of the game.
The following are the approved law amendments from World Rugby that are being placed into affect:
- Law 20.5 and 20.5 (d) Throwing the ball into the scrum
No signal from referee. The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.
Rationale: To promote scrum stability, a fair contest for possession while also giving the advantage to the team throwing in (non-offending team).
- Law 20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum – exception
The number eight shall be allowed to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.
Rationale: To promote continuity.
- Law 20 Striking after the throw-in
Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.
Rationale: To promote a fair contest for possession.
- Law 15.4 (c)
The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.
Rationale: To make the tackle/ruck simpler for players and referees and more consistent with the rest of that law.
- Law 16 Ruck
A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.
Rationale: To make the ruck simpler for players and referees.
- Law 16.4: Other ruck offences
A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.
Rationale: To promote player welfare and to make it consistent with scrum law.
These laws will come into effect in from the weekend of 4-7 August. The competitions affected by the implementation of these amendments from this time include the Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions, Pro14, and the SA Rugby Under-21, -20 and -19 Championships. The Rugby Championship series set to start on 19 August will not be affected, however the end of year tests in November will be officiated using these new laws.
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 full results of the global trial.”
Rugby Committee Chairman John Jeffrey added: “These law amendments are designed to improve the experience of those playing and watching the game at all levels and to avoid negative play where possible. The results of the closed trials were highly-encouraging with more ball out from the scrum, fewer penalties and better stability, which has a player welfare benefit too.”