Major League Rugby, the highest level of rugby competition in North America, has announced a raft of new ‘trial law variations‘ ahead of its fourth season kicking off on March 20 this year.
The league, which receives widespread TV coverage across the country, will feature 13 teams in 2021 – 12 from the United States and one outfit from Canada.
The new trial laws include giving more time for kickers to complete any kick, seven points for scoring a try beneath the posts – which will not require a conversion – as well as limiting the number of scrums to two per incident.
A new ruling on red cards and the offside line will also feature in the league. Check out the full list of trial alterations below:
• Kickers will have 60 seconds as opposed 90 seconds for any kick (conversion/penalty) and will have a kick clock to help guide them.
• Seven points will be automatically awarded for any try scored directly under the posts and no conversion will be necessary.
• Referees will work with stricter protocols that will limit the number of scrums to two per incident – the original plus one reset for a collapse, penalty, or freekick.
• The offside line will be the feed line/channel of the scrum to allow for unimpeded access to the ball at the back of the scrum for the attacking team.
• No longer will a red card mean a team plays a man down for the remainder of the match. Under the new law a red card would lead to a player being sent off and the team goes down to 14 players for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the player can be replaced with another player on the bench. The red carded players cannot return to the field in any event and will go through subsequent disciplinary procedures.
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Explaining the motive behind the changes, Major League Rugby Match Official Director Jonathan Kaplan said: “Our goal is to continue to offer fans and teams fast paced, competitive rugby that is safe and balanced.
“We believe these new laws will enhance our on-field product while staying true to the spirit of rugby.”