World Rugby has introduced six new laws that will be enforced in the Northern Hemisphere from August onwards
Many rugby unions as well as World Rugby have been trying to simplify the game a small bit in recent times and these new rules hopefully will begin that process.
The adjustments are to feature at ruck time, at scrums and around the tackle.
At scrum’s, unlike before, the scrum half does not need a tap or signal from the referee to put in the ball. According to the rule change, the scrum half can also “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.”
Also, at scrum time, the number eight may retrieve the ball from the second rows feet which is to promote continuity.
Lastly, involving the scrum, a free kick may be awarded against the team putting in the ball if no player strikes for the ball.
There is one adaptation to Law fifteen regarding the tackle area and it is as follows
“The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”,”
The most significant change to the laws comes in conjunction with ruck time, the change is in regards to law 16 and is as follows
“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.”
Before this amendment, two players had to be on their feet and be over the ball for their to be a ruck. A great example of this was when Italy committed nobody to the ruck against England in the Six Nations.
Also from August on, players are not permitted to kick the ball out of the ruck, they may only hook it back to their side.