Rugby is an ever evolving evolving sport. At the beginning of each World Cup cycle, World Rugby address some of the issues affecting the game by altering it’s laws. Although rugby’s governing body sometimes make changes so as to create a fast flowing, more entertaining game, they also endeavour to produce a safer sport.
The law changes that will come into effect on July 1, generally come under either of those categories, with the laws governing the maul coming into force today.
The new laws announced today were agreed upon at a meeting of World Rugby officials last September, with many of them coming into being in the southern hemisphere at the turn of the year.
However, although the changes affecting the maul came into being today, any international test scheduled in June will be contested using the previous laws.
Seven New Law Changes:
- 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.
Changes to the laws governing the maul.
Upon the formation of a maul, the player in possession of the ball cannot ‘swim’ to the back of the engagement. Instead, the ball must be transferred ‘hand to hand’ to the back of the maul by the ripper, who must remain in contact with the initial receiver at all times.