21 Jul 2017

World Rugby to trial more new laws around ruck and scrum

7:49 am on 21 July 2017

World Rugby has announced six new law amendments focusing on the scrum and ruck and will have a global trial in a bid to make the game easier to play and referee.

NZ Captain Kieran Read reacts during the third rugby union Test match between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks.

NZ Captain Kieran Read during the controversial third rugby union Test match against the British and Irish Lions. Photo: AFP

The changes will be trialed in the northern hemisphere from August 1, extended to the south from January 1, and will include the end of year international tours in Europe.

The laws have been approved for an extended trial by the World Rugby Executive Committee after positive outcomes at the recent Under-20 Championship in Georgia, as well as other smaller regional tournaments.

Three of the trialed laws relate to the scrum in a bid to make it a fairer contest, including allowing all members of the front row to attempt to strike for the ball after it has been put into the scrum.

Added to that, the number eight at the back of the scrum may pick up the ball at the feet of the locks, rather than the current rule that says he must wait for it to make its way to between his legs.

And although the halfback must put the ball in straight into the scrum, they may now stand with their shoulder aligned to the middle of the scrum, allowing them to be further to their side of the set-piece.

World Rugby hope that the alterations ensure that the team putting the ball in maintains the advantage at the set-piece, as the non-offending side.

The other three law amendment trials all relate to the ruck.

The first of these states the ruck is formed when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball on the ground, creating the offside line.

Players on their feet will now be able to pick up the ball on the floor as long as no opposition player has joined the ruck.

If the ruck has resulted from a tackle, the tackler must get to his feet before he can play the ball, and must do so from his side of the contest, through the gate and not from the side as they could previously.

Players may also no longer kick the ball out of a ruck, but can hook it back towards their own side.

The trials give World Rugby a year to decide which, if any, should be formally implemented into the laws of the game for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.