Player welfare is the sport’s top priority and injury incidence in global elite rugby has reduced in recent years thanks to the sport’s forward-thinking and research-driven approach to injury prevention and injury management.
Here are the law trials that will come into effect…
What is the philosophy behind the trials?
The fundamental principle of all trials is player welfare and the trials have been approved after extensive analysis by the specialist Law Review Group following union submissions and analysis at the ground-breaking player welfare and laws symposium in Marcoussis, France, in March 2019.
What are the trials?
The package of six law amendments are:
- 50:22 kick: If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22 or from inside their own 22 into their opponents’ half, they will throw in to the resultant lineout Rationale: To create space via a tactical choice for players to drop back out of the defensive line in order to prevent their opponents from kicking for touch.
- The High Tackle Technique Warning: Successfully trialled at the World Rugby U20 Championship for the last two years reducing the incidence of concussion by more than 50 per cent. Rationale: Head Injury prevention strategy.
- Reducing the tackle height to the waist. Rationale: Forcing players to tackle lower may reduce the risk of head injuries to both the tackler and tackled player. It may also encourage more offloads and expansive play.
- Ability to review a yellow card when a player is in the sin-bin for dangerous foul play: Rationale: To ensure players who are guilty of serious foul play do not escape with a yellow card when they deserved red.
- The introduction of an infringement (penalty and free-kick) limit for teams. Once a team has reached the limit, a mandatory yellow card is given to the last offending player as a team sanction. Rationale: To encourage teams to offend less.
- The awarding of a goal-line drop-out to the defending team when an attacking player, who brings the ball into in-goal, is held up. Rationale: To reward good defence and promote a faster rate of play.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring rugby is as simple and safe to play as possible for all. While the recent Rugby World Cup demonstrated a slight decrease in injury rates and a 30 per cent plus reduction in concussions owing to the implementation of evidence-based injury prevention programmes, we can and must do more to reduce injuries at all levels. This is an important milestone on that journey.
“We have already seen hugely encouraging initial outcomes and feedback from Australia’s National Rugby Championship and are delighted to have such a broad range of elite and community leagues running trials thanks to the support of our unions and regions.”