World Rugby Springboks

The Springboks’ scrum against England. Image: Twitter/X

World Rugby law change: Springboks’ winning formula under threat!

World Rugby will introduce game-changing laws impacting scrum, red cards, and continuity. Proposals are to be considered in May.

World Rugby Springboks

The Springboks’ scrum against England. Image: Twitter/X

World Rugby is poised to introduce a series of game-changing law changes that could significantly impact the way the sport is played, particularly at the elite level. These proposed changes come as part of the governing body’s ongoing efforts to enhance rugby’s entertainment value and grow its audience over the next decade.

Strict Enforcement of Existing Laws

Starting from 19 March, referees will be expected to strictly apply current laws. Players must use the ball more quickly when secured at a ruck/breakdown, with referees calling “use it” earlier to begin the five-second count.

Hookers must maintain a full brake foot during the scrum engagement sequence to improve stability and safety. There will also be strict reinforcement of the 2022 law trial relating to water carriers entering the field of play.

World Rugby Law Change Package to be Considered in May

At the upcoming World Rugby general council meeting on 9 May, a package of law amendments will be considered. These include adjustments to Law 10 regarding players being put on side during kicks in open play, aiming to reduce “kick tennis”, removal of the scrum option from a free kick at a scrum, reducing dead time, and outlawing the practice of the “croc roll” to reinforce player welfare.

The removal of the scrum option from a free kick could significantly impact teams that rely heavily on their scrum dominance, such as the Springboks, who have leveraged this strength to win back-to-back World Cups in 2019 and 2023.

World Rugby: 20-Minute Red Card Law Change Proposal

World Rugby has confirmed that a final proposal for the 20-minute red card law will be presented at the 9 May council meeting. If approved, this law change, which allows a red-carded player to be replaced after 20 minutes, could be in place for a global trial by the time the Springboks host Ireland in the July Test series.

Closed Law Trials to Enhance Game Continuity

Unions and competition owners will be encouraged to implement a package of closed law trials aimed at enhancing game continuity. These include the expansion of the shot clock for scrums and lineouts, reduced kicking time, the ability to mark the ball inside the 22m line from a restart, playing the ball after the maul has been stopped once, protection of the scrumhalf at the base of the scrum, ruck, and maul, and playing on for lineout not straight if the throw-in is uncontested.

As World Rugby continues to evolve the sport through these proposed law changes, the implications could be far-reaching for teams and players alike, particularly as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup cycle. The World Rugby law change proposals demonstrate the governing body’s commitment to keeping the sport engaging and entertaining for fans worldwide.

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