World Rugby have announced a law change with immediate effect to put a halt to Saracens’ controversial new tactic.
On numerous occasions their players were seen to be joining a defensive ruck and then sliding around to the side of the ruck, whilst staying bound to their team-mate.
As long as they remained bound to their team-mate, by the words of the previous law they were not deemed to be offside.
However, for once, World Rugby have been quick to make a change.
“Adding players to your own side of the ruck, in order to advance closer to the opposition side of the ruck squeezes the space available and compromises the clearance of the ball from the ruck,” say the game’s governing body.
“These actions should be discouraged.
“If a player is fully bound and they have moved beyond the offside line then they must return to be behind the hindmost foot before being able to be involved in play, once the ball is out or is played from the ruck.”
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The FOUR radical new rugby laws that come into effect in 2022
World Rugby has relaxed its eligibility rules to allow national team players to switch countries from January 2022.
Under the current regulations, a player is unable to switch national team once they have won a senior cap – and are thereafter tied to that country.
However, under the new rule change passed on Wednesday by more than 75% of the World Rugby council votes, international players such as England’s Billy and Mako Vunipola could represent Tonga, as could New Zealand’s Charles Piutau, who won the last of his 17 caps for the All Blacks in 2015, making him eligible to switch allegiance next year.
This also means that there is a possibility that in the 2022 Six Nations a player may represent a second country in the tournament.
From 1 January 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:
- The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
- The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
- Under the revised regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity