IRB confirm new law experiments for next season

Just as the rugby world was breathing a sigh of relief, a leak from one outraged IRB board member confirms that it has been proposed a new wave of law experiments will be trialled next season.

Not content at dismissing the ELVs and returning to the original law book (for the most part), a number of other adjustments to our game have been tabled, apparently to rule out the type of match that we saw in the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007.

You’ll remember that not every game was as gripping as Wales v Fiji, and that on occasions, teams looked like rabbits in headlights and preferred to kick the ball to safer territory, rather than run it from deep and risk conceding crucial points.

“That is knockout rugby!” we reply in unison, but in yet another attempt to ‘speed up the game’ and force players to run with the ball to ‘wow’ the crowds, here is a rundown of the three new rules on the table.

1. Kicking directly out of play will result in a lineout from where you kicked it, regardless of whether the player was inside the 22 metre line, and regardless of whether that team played the ball back inside it or not. This excludes full penalties, in which case the current law still applies.

Not too controversial, since it’s not a far cry from where we are now but its success will depend on how the breakdown is policed since players may not want to run the ball into contact from behind their own line.

2. The ball will no longer need to be fed into the middle of the scrum and ‘crooked’ feeds are allowed.

This has been happening for some time now anyway, but it could mean that scrums become obsolete if there really is no chance of the opposition winning the ball. The law is designed so that we don’t waste time resetting scrum after scrum, and the game can be restarted more quickly.

3. There will be a limit to how many times each player can kick the ball during a game – this will be set at 3 each for backs and 1 each for forwards to begin with, but could be adjusted easily at a later date.

Accompanying this strange new rule is the introduction of a ‘Kicking Official’ to help the referee count how many kicks each player has made in the game, and the IRB have said that not only will this reduce unnecessary kicking, but it will also create employment for some of its staff that they’d otherwise have to make redundant.

My reaction to this latest development from the Laws Project Group shouldn’t really be printed anywhere, but what do you think?

11 thoughts on “IRB confirm new law experiments for next season

  1. Is this a wind up? Please tell me it is. Taking them one at a time:

    1. This will lead to a rash of up and unders and will slow the game down
    even further as teams just pick and drive from their own line for phase
    after phase, knowing they will be punished for a loose kick or for an
    extravagant pass. The low risk rugby we see in the World Cup knockout
    stages will be exaggerated exponentially. Ridiculous. The long raking
    clearance kick is a skill and a crucial part of the game.

    2. Or, instead of changing the rules, why don’t they enforce the
    existing ones? Completely non-sensical. This wouldn’t be the latest
    Australian attempt to depower the scrum by any chance would it?

    3. Possibly the most ridiculous I’ve heard. The big criticism of the
    ELVs was that teams became homogenous and all played the game in the
    same way, taking out the variety of approaches used by teams. By
    prescribing how many times a team can kick a ball, you are depriving
    them of a legitimate tactic in exactly the same way as sidelining the
    maul. How about limiting the number of people who can hit a breakdown or
    the number of times a hooker can throw in to a lineout? Kicking is a
    specific skill and I don’t want to see second rows hoofing it because
    the fly-half has used up his ‘quota’.

    Leave the damn game alone. Don’t change the rules because 3 games 2
    years ago were a bit turgid. I know they’re the biggets games there are
    but how about not buggering up the game for the millions who watch it
    and play it regularly in order to bring in a few new punters who will
    probably lose interest in a year if their team is not winning anyway
    (see the number of empty seats on England’s bandwagon within 2 years of

  2. Part of me agrees it could be april fools – but knowing how much the IRB have messed our beloved game up so far, I’m more convinced it is another attempt by the bureaucratic IRB idiots to destroy the greatest game in the world. Leave the game alone. The only thing you should be changing is the management stucture of the IRB!!!

  3. Here we go again.
    More tinkerings making the laws ever more labyrinthine, and th game more difficult to referee, and more impentrable to the newcomer.
    The answer to the problem of congestion caused by the increase in player size and speed, which is what most legal interventions have been designed to counter, is simply to make the pitch wider.
    This is the one legal initiative which has never been tried since the game was formulated and most of the working classes could not expect to live beyond the ripe age of 45 and were found unfit to serve in the Boer War.
    The accountants will squeal, of course, but they can simply all be rounded up and shot. Or something.

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