The Australian Rugby Union has announced radical new rule changes for the inaugural National Rugby Championship which kicks off next week.
Penalties and drop goals will only be worth two points, while conversions will be increased to three in one of several new law variations which the ARU chief Bill Pulver hopes will one day be adopted internationally.
The rules were voted on by fans and Pulver says it will place an emphasis on creative running rugby.
The nine-team, 11-week NRC kicks off on Thursday week when Brisbane City takes on the Sydney Stars in a Queensland-NSW cross-border clash at Ballymore in Brisbane.
Other law variations being trialled during the competition include:
- being able to kick to touch and continue with a lineout if a team is awarded a penalty after halftime or fulltime;
- time limits for scrum formation and kicks at goal;
- and instead of a four-try bonus-point system, the winning team being awarded a bonus point for finishing three or more tries ahead of their opponents.
The points variation has been approved by the International Rugby Board and Pulver hopes the ARU can be a pioneer for global rule changes.