Super Rugby AU to introduce a host of law trials

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Goal line drop outs, golden point and red card replacements are among the new laws to be introduced into the upcoming Super Rugby AU tournament.

Rugby Australia announced on Friday that seven new law trials will be introduced into the Super Rugby AU competition, kicking off on July 3.

Changes include the ability to replace a red carded players after 20 minutes, and "Super Time" for matches that are drawn at 80 minutes.

"Super Time" will see two five-minute periods tacked on to the end of matches and the first team to score points will win the game.

Referees will also be cracking down on policing the breakdown, limiting the number of scrum resets and being on the lookout for cynical plays.

Fans will get a glimpse of some of the new laws in the Super Rugby Aotearoa, which kicks off this weekend.

The law variations were developed by Australia's Super Rugby coaches and also discussed with player representatives before being confirmed by World Rugby.

Rugby Australia Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson said the rules were agreed upon unanimously.

“We assembled some of the best minds in the game from a range of different roles to look at adding some new attacking dimensions to the game while at the same time sticking to some key principles to preserve the fabric of the sport," he said.

“The level of engagement was outstanding from the players and coaches involved in the process and we ended up with a set of law variations that were unanimously agreed upon by all 24 people involved.

“A couple of the variations including the 50/22 and 22/50s have been trialled previously in the NRC and we have added some principles around line drop-outs to encourage more short attacking kick options near the line, and a Super Time tiebreaker in the event of a draw.

“We will also zero in on the application of law around the breakdown and scrums, trying to limit some of the down time and improve the flow of the game.

“Throughout the process we stuck to the principle that whatever we changed, the game still had to be Rugby, and nothing could compromise the Wallabies’ preparation for Test Rugby. In fact, I believe the changes we have implemented will broaden and enhance the capabilities of our players.”

LAW CHANGES

1. When an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on play restarts with a goal line drop-out

Drop-out is taken anywhere on or behind the defending team’s goal line. Sanction: 5m scrum in line with the place where the kick was taken

Must be taken without delay. Sanction: Free-kick

Must cross the goal line and travel 5m. Sanction: The non-kicking team has the option of the kick being retaken or a 5m scrum in line with the place where the kick was taken

The defence must be back 5m

An opponent must not charge over the 5m line before the ball is kicked. Sanction: Free-kick

If the ball crosses the 5m line but the bounces back play continues

2. When a kick enters the in-goal area and is forced by the defending team play restarts with a goal line drop-out

As above

3. A kick originating in the attacking 22m area cannot be marked by the defending team within their own 22m area. The kick can however be marked within the defending team’s in-goal area and play restarts with a 22m line drop- out

To claim a mark, a player must:
  
Have a least one foot on or behind their own goal line when catching the ball or when landing having caught it in the air; and 

Catch a ball that has reached the plane of the goal line directly from an opponent’s kick before it touches the ground or another player; and 

Simultaneously call “mark”

A player may claim a mark even if the ball hits a goal post or crossbar before being caught 

When a mark is called correctly, the referee immediately stops the game and awards a 22m restart to the team in possession

Any player may take the 22m restart

4. Red Card 

A red carded player can be replaced after 20 minutes

If all substitutions have been used the Red Carded player cannot be replaced
 
5. 50/22 

A kick taken from within the defending team’s 50m area that travels into touch within the opposition’s 22m area having first bounced in the field of play results in a lineout throw to the kicking team

Criteria
  
The defending team did not take the ball into their own 50m area; or

A tackle, ruck or maul takes places within the 50m area; or

An opponent touched the ball within the 50m area

Clarifications
  
The above does not apply if a player kicks the ball from a free-kick awarded in the 50m area

The 50m area includes the defending team’s in-goal area

6. 22/50

A kick taken from within the defending team’s 22m area that travels into touch within the opposition’s 50m area having first bounced in the field of play results in a lineout throw to the kicking team

Criteria
 
The defending team did not take the ball into their own 22m area; or 

A tackle, ruck or maul takes places within the 22m area; or

An opponent touched the ball within the 22m area

Clarifications
  
The above does not apply if a player kicks the ball from a free-kick awarded in the 22m 

The 22m area includes the defending team’s in-goal area

7. Super Time 

(2 x 5min periods of extra time) in the event of a drawn game after regulation time where the first points scored wins the match for the scoring team

First points scored in Super Time wins match 

No conversions of tries

Losing team receives bonus point for being within 7 points

Team that kicks off match kicks off first period of Super Time