New law amendments in place for June Internationals

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The June Internationals will be subject to several minor law amendments that have been in use in the Southern Hemisphere since the start of the year, but that the Northern Hemisphere sides have yet to encounter.

The main amendments from World Rugby are as follows:

– The replacement of a player injured following foul play does not count as one of the allotted number of replacements available to that team
– Advantage may be played following a scrum collapse if there is no risk to player safety
– Play acting or “simulation” is specifically outlawed in the game in a move that formalises resistance to a practice that has been creeping into the game in recent years. Any player who dives or feigns injury in an effort to influence the match officials will be liable for sanction
– Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 30 seconds of the scrum being awarded, unless the referee stops the clock for an injury or another stoppage
– At a re-set scrum following a 90-degree wheel, the ball is thrown in by the team that previously threw it in rather than the team not in possession
– The scrum-half of the team not in possession at a scrum may not move into the space between the flanker and number eight
– When the ball has been at the number eight’s feet in a stationary scrum for 3-5 seconds, the referee will call “use it” and the attacking team must use the ball immediately

There is also a major law amendment to the way that mauls are refereed – again, this has been in place since the start of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, but not the North.

Under the new law, a player in possession of the ball – for example, after it has been won at a lineout – will not be able to slide or move himself to the back of a maul, but rather the ball will have to be passed hand to hand to the man at the back of the maul. The sanction for breaking this law will be a penalty.

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

20 thoughts on “New law amendments in place for June Internationals

  1. Unsure what the first one means as everyone is allowed to be replaced? Does it mean if someone is taken off injured after foul play in the first minute, they can come back on later in the game as a tactical sub if they “walk it off”?

    Think all the others are good and all make sense, which is surprising for World Rugby!

    One change I would like to see is that if a maul collapses the put-in goes to the team who took the ball in, although perhaps a distinction should be made between mauls in open play (namely choke tackles) and mauls from line-outs. in my opinion, the choke tackle is dull from a spectator’s point of view, and leads to a scrum – which is a mess. It should be de-incentivised, although I’m not sure if a team that try to set up a driving maul from a line-out should get another go from a scrum if they fail.

    1. The injury sub thing does look like a Pandora’s box, doesn’t it? Can imagine more Bloodgates in the future.

  2. It does not seem to occur to the powers that be that what is needed is not more and more new laws but consistent and accurate application of the ones we have. If they started with a straight put in in the scrum, insisted on a straight line out, stopped players running blocking lines in mid field, applied the back foot law at rucks and mauls, and recognised that a forward pass is a pass that travels forward it would transform the game. As for diving, this surely constitutes unsportsmanlike behaviour and is already subject to sanction.
    One change they should make but won´t is to do away with substitutions except in case of injury. This applies particularly to the front row, where one would often spend an hour grinding the opposition down and make hay in the last twenty minutes. It was hugely satisfying when you got on top and character building when you got mastered. Now they put in a fifty minute shift and are replaced.

    1. I think the “major new maul law” fits in the category of applying existing laws, doesn’t it? It was always the case that the ball, not the player, should move backwards, but refs have just been turning a blind eye to what is effectively obstruction. I think applying this law as above is a good move.

  3. Why are people in agreement around the scrum half not being allowed between the flanker and the 8. It completely eradicates any pressure on the scrum half. Other than that I think they are all sensible. Although agree with Andy that more consistent policing is definitely required

    1. It will enable the scrum half with the ball to get the ball away quicker. Pressure will be applied if the scrum is moving backwards.

      I would rather watch the ball being passed than two 9s grappling with each other.

  4. I think Andy has got it pretty much perfect.

    However, I would also like to see a crackdown on players coming through rucks on their own ball to take out or obstruct and hold defenders beyond the ruck.

    I think it started with the All Blacks but now it seems to be widespread and was particularly noticeable on the weekend

  5. After my earlier praise, one slight question – how quickly has this been rushed through? Why wasn’t the England vs Wales game played with these variations?

    1. Agree with this entirely. The timing is challenging particularly for the maul rule change. Northern hemisphere players will automatically allow the ball carrier to slip to the back of the maul. It will be very difficult to change this with only 2 weeks of training and given the importance of the driving maul currently we might find the NH teams quite heavily penalised. Time will tell I guess.

  6. I think the new laws are a great addition though, as one contributor states, will have the same effect of applying current ones regularly. I’ve only recently retired (at 35) and one of the reasons was the constant whinging at refs (every player), asking for cards, play acting and general spread of the behaviour of the Facebook generation onto the rugby pitch and the stands; just last week cittadini did the ‘waving imaginary yellow card’ and it went unnoticed/unpunished. I’ve had plenty of refs who are megalomaniacal bullies but that’s better than being your best mate, questioning every decision and sharing #bants with them all game – get a grip. How about if any player suggests an indiscretion to the ref (“he’s offside ref”, “knock on ref” “what’s he doing there?”) it’s an immediate penalty to the other team. Watch (on iPlayer) how many times the top superleague ref has to kindly ask 3 players to stop berating him so he can make an explanation to them to which they say “bol#-cks” and simply walk off – crazy.

    1. Completely agree Tate.

      Delighted to say that in the games I play (very mediocre level) it’s still not uncommon for the refs to penalise the bloke trying to referee the game for him, reversing the original decision. But standards vary a lot – I played for the oppo a few months ago when they turned up short of players and it was illuminating to see how much grief the ref got from my usual 9 and 10. In his ear at every single breakdown, instructing him what decisions to make. I said to my temporarily adoptive captain he had to start getting involved because the ref was just doing exactly as he was told by the other team, but – to his credit I think – he simply refused.

  7. Sorry…ranty tangent over. Also the 5 second rule is even more laughable than the ‘goalkeeper 6 second rule’. I often count (I’m odd) how long the ball is at the back of a ruck for and it’s often 10-15 seconds before the ref says use it which buys another 5. Agree with the driving maul laws (poor old TTT) but the 9 not allowed between flanker and 8???? Does this mean not past the flanker of physically between the legs of the two players (oooo matron)?

  8. Delighted to see a clamp-down on simulation, although it is already covered in the laws under bad sportsmanship. The sanction should be at least a yellow card, with a one-match ban to follow. This bullshit must not be allowed to take hold in rugby, it has absolutely destroyed football as a sport and moreover is potentially very dangerous in rugby.

  9. That first law is confusing? If a player gets injured and has to be replaced, that doesn’t count as one of the allotted replacements. Don’t really see how this helps unless teams are able to have more replacements on the bench?

    You are allowed eight replacements, but if for instance Joseph gets clothes lined and cannot carry on, he is replaced by Daly, but this doesn’t count as one of the eight allotted replacements.

    I guess this means players who have been substituted for tactical reasons can come back on later in the game to use the extra allotted replacement if this has happened? If so I can see this law being abused in certain circumstances.

  10. I agree with Andy!! one law that irritates me when a penalty is given and a player takes the quick tap. The 10 meter rule should not apply especially when it’s close to the try line, noway can you expect the defenders not to tackle.

      1. Thanks Leon. You are right, I didn´t say that, neither would I agree with it. The purpose of a penalty is to penalise the offending side. Once the penalty has been given the onus is on that side to retreat ten metres without interfering with play. If they can´t do that quickly enough I can see no reason why they should be allowed to interfere with an attacker who reacts quickly. As far as “when it´s close to the try line ” is concerned that is already covered in the Laws. The defender does not need to retreat ten metres but must retire with his feet behind the try line before he can then advance towards an attacker and try to tackle him. That seems to me perfectly reasonable. Why can´t one expect defenders not to tackle when they know perfectly well that they are in a position that they shouldn´t be in?

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