Some big law changes coming to Rugby Union

World Rugby has introduced a number of law changes ahead of the 2017/18 season

The new law changes are relative to professional teams all the way down to grassroots level rugby. The changes have actually been in play since the first of July and were evident in some of the British and Irish Lions games.

Upcoming preseason games will make the laws clearer as they are put in place. So here is each law explained.

No. 1. Uncontested Scrums.

Unlike before, teams will now have to have a full eight man scrum at uncontested scrums. This includes when suitable replacements are not available due to injury or poor discipline.

This could mean bad news for some backs as they might need to join the scrum if they are a man down. The thinking behind this law change is to deter teams from seeing out a game by defending, which is made easier at uncontested scrums, as they will have less players in the backs to do so. 

It will encourage more attack minded play as defences are a man down and it is an easy rule to enforce for referees meaning their won’t be added pressure on them.

No. 2. Time.

Up until now, once the ball goes out of play in any situation after 80 minutes, that meant time up. If a team was a score down and the clock was in red they had to scrum it, kick for goal or tap it, an often it was from their own half, making an already tough challenge even tougher.

With the new law change, team’s will be permitted to kick for touch and have a lineout after the 80 minutes are up. The idea behind this change is to encourage an attacking style of rugby and also deter teams from infringing at the end of the game.

This law change will bring a lot more excitement to the game as the chance to kick for touch gives the attacking team a much better platform to attack from.

At grassroots level, referees will have to be that bit more vigilant of the time but again it’s not a huge rule change that refs will have problems in implementing.

No. 3. Repeated fouls.

Repeated infringements can be very frustrating for teams who simply want to play the game. This new law change will help cut down repeated infringements as it rewards the team not committing the fouls with a penalty that will be more advantageous than a normal penalty. 

If a team is continually infringing at the breakdown then a penalty will be awarded to the non offending team, but with the new rule change, the attacking team, if in range, can go for goal and pick where they take the penalty from so that it is most advantageous to them.

Similar to the other rule changes, this will be straightforward to impose and it should deter teams from repeating fouls in attacking areas of the field. If a team does repeatedly infringe and realises they will more than likely concede three points it will make them tighten up on their discipline more so than before.

No. 4. Penalty Tries.

A penalty try is awarded if a player commits a foul on a player that is about to score a try. That part of the law stays the same but the change comes in terms of how much points you are awarded.

Previously you were awarded the usual five points for a penalty try but then you had to convert it under the posts. With this lw change, a penalty try is now worth 7 points and you do not need to convert it.

The reason they are scrapping the conversion is to quicken up the game as well as adding a stronger deterrent to infringing possible try’s illegally.

No. 5. In Touch.

The final law change is in regards to whether a player is deemed to be in touch or not. If a player catches the ball in the air over the touch line, and the player is not touching the ground, he may throw the ball back in play as it is not regarded as out of play.

This will keep the game more exciting as player’s will be able to keep the ball in play that bit more now.



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