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Global Law changes

Posted on 15 August 2017

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Global law changes

Post Date:   15th August 2017


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World Rugby announced last week that six law amendments will be applied to all games at all levels in England from this August. The change follows the completion of positive trials in specific international competitions earlier this year and the amendments will be included in the Global Law Trials (GLT) from August 1st.

For ease of understanding and to ensure that the full set of Global Law Trials is clear, all these law changes are detailed below along with guidance notes where applicable.
Clips illustrating the GLTs are available on the World Rugby website: (click on Global Law Trials 2017 tab).

1. Definitions – Possession This happens when a player is carrying the ball (or attempting to bring it under control) or the team has the ball in its control; for example the ball in one half of a scrum or ruck is in that team’s possession.
Guidance Notes:
The ball needs to be in close proximity to the player.


2017 Law Book

3.6 Number of Players – The Team Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.
Guidance Notes:
This also includes an HIA assessment or blood bin.
Community game: When teams start with less than fifteen players the referee may take a different approach following discussions with both captains. For example, a team starting a game with thirteen players and not able to provide a fully trained front row from the outset would not be expected to play with eight forwards and five backs at each scrum.
2017 Law Book
5.7 (e) Time If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.
To end the half, the ball must be tapped before the kick to touch.
Guidance Notes:
Referees to continue to call time on and off.
A team can however kick the ball dead over the dead ball line/touch in goal line to end the match. If a time keeper is appointed to continue with his role.


2017 Law Book

8.1 (a) Advantage When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.
Guidance Notes:
If a yellow card(s) is/are issued this will be done before the captains choose the most advantageous position.


2017 Law Book

9.A.1 Method of Scoring Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted.
Value: 7 points
Guidance Notes:
A TMO or AR may intervene up until the game has restarted.
6. Amended Tackle 15.4 (c) The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their side of the tackle gate.
Guidance Notes:  None
7. Law 16: Amended Ruck Law 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 line is created. A player 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.
Guidance Notes:
The “one man” ruck only applies after a tackle and that normal ruck law applies to all other situations e.g. player voluntarily going to ground, ball on ground in open play etc. The offside line is formed when a player from either team arrive over the ball.
8. Law 16.4 : Other Ruck Offences A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.
Guidance Notes: None
9. Law 18 Definition Mark To make a mark a player must have one or both feet on or behind that player’s 22-metre line and catch a ball that has reached the plane of the 22-metre line.
Guidance Notes: None
10. Law 19 Touch Definition If the ball has passed the plane of touch when it is caught, then the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
If the ball has not passed the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.
If a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area (or if that player catches the ball and throws it back into the playing area) before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches the plane of touch.
Guidance Notes:
Passed includes reached.
2017 Law Book
Law 19.1(c) No Gain in Ground If a player, with one or both feet on or behind the 22-metre line, picks up the ball, which was outside the 22, or catches the ball in front of the 22-metre line and kicks it directly into touch from within the 22, then that player has taken the ball back inside the 22, so there is no gain in ground.
Delete 19.1(e) and re-letter subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
Guidance Notes:
A player in the field of play, who plays a ball that has reached the touchline, and which subsequently lands in touch, is deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
12. 20.5 Throwing the ball into the scrum No signal from referee.
The scrum must be stable and there must be no delay once the ball has been presented to the scrum.
Guidance Notes:
The scrum half must ensure the scrum is stable before throwing in the ball.
13. 20.6 (d) How the scrum-half throws in the ball 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 side of the middle line.
Guidance Notes:
Referees to ensure the scrum half is standing square to the scrum.
14. 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.
Sanction: Free-kick
Guidance Notes:
A strike must happen immediately. Any part of the lower leg from the knee to the foot – including the knee and heel may be used.
15. 20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum – exception Allow the number eight to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.
Guidance Notes:
The number eight can only pick the ball from the second row not the front row and this has to be done from where they are positioned before the scrum feed.
2017 Law Book
Law 22.9 (b) Defending Player in In-goal If a player with one or both feet on or behind the goal line picks up the ball from within the field of play, or catches the ball in front of the goal line, that player has taken possession of the ball in the field of play.
Delete 22.9(c) and re-letter subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
Guidance Notes: None
2017 Law Book
Law 22.9 (d) Defending Player in In-goal If a player with one or both feet on or behind the dead ball line picks up or catches a ball that has not reached the dead ball line, or touch-in-goal line, that player is deemed to have made the ball dead.
Delete 22.9(e).
Guidance Notes: None

Details provided by:

Tony Spreadbury (RFU Head of Professional Game Match Officials) and Chris Cuthbertson (RFU Council Member for Middlesex and Chairman of RFU Laws Sub Committee)

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