Whistle Talk

December 14 2016


Whistle Talk
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Whistle Talk Volume 5 Issue 2: World Rugby Law Trials Come Into Effect in BC on January 1st


posted Dec 14 2016
by David Pue

January 2017

News from the British Columbia Rugby Referees’ Society
comments or questions to bcrrsallocator@gmail.com

After the, well-earned, Christmas break, some World Rugby Law Trials will come into effect in BC. Though the trials were announced to start in the Southern Hemisphere on January 1, 2017 and the Northern Hemisphere on August 1, 2017, Rugby Canada proposed that they be enacted for the 2nd half of the BCRU season... our season is more aligned with the Southern Hemisphere. The BCRRS and the BCRU both agreed. This will benefit players who will be playing national level games in the summer, where the trials will be in use.

To more fully understand the changes in the Law trials, read the actual Law on the App (available through World Rugby) or download the .pdf at laws.worldrugby.org

The changes to the wording of the Laws for the Law Trials and some rationale are:

Law 3 Number of Players – The Team
3.6 (Uncontested Scrums)
Add (h) Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

It was seen as an advantage for a team to have a forward be sin-binned and play 7 v 8 in the uncontested scrums. By this Law Trial, the team would have to put a back into the uncontested scrums.

Law 5 Time
Add to 5.7(e) If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.

This is to discourage a team from offending at the end of the game or the half. The non-infringing team now doesn’t have to tap and run the ball from the penalty kick awarded to them. They can kick for distance and play from the lineout.

Law 8 Advantage
Add to 8.1(a) When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.

The referee was the one who decided which of the multiple offenses to apply, ie. based on what they thought was the most advantageous. That decision can now be made by the team captain…. note the use of “may” in wording of the Law trial.

Law 9 Method of Scoring
9.A.1 (points values)
Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted.
Value: 7 points

This will discourage a player from committing foul play to prevent a try as it makes the 7 points automatic. It also saves time in the game. Note: this is for foul play (Law 10… Obstruction, Unfair Play, Dangerous Play, Misconduct and Repeated Ingringements) not for some other offenses… ie. just being offside. Also note Law 10.2 (a) requires that the opponent who prevents a try by foul play must either be shown a yellow or red card…. sin-binned or sent off.

Law 19 Touch and Lineout
Add to definitions on page 117:
• A player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball.

“In possession” of the ball means “holding it”. It has been very difficult for officials to decide if a player who is “juggling” the ball as they go into touch, actually holding the ball or not. By this Law trial the “juggler” will be considered to be holding the ball. As they probably began to “juggle” the ball before going into touch, the ruling will likely be that they took the ball into touch and would have an effect on the location of the lineout.

Amend eighth definition on page 117:
• If a player jumps from the playing area and knocks the ball back into the playing area (or if that player catches the ball and throws it back into the playing area) before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches the plane of touch.

Add to definitions on page 117:
• If the ball-carrier reaches the plane of touch but returns the ball to the playing area without first landing in touch, play continues.

Both of these Law trials have the same effect and clarify a confusing situation in games. Some referees have been applying this version of the Law, while others felt that the jumping player had to land in the field of play after knocking the ball. The IRB had ruled at one time that the position of the jumpers feet decided if they and the ball were in touch.

Now, if a player can jump in the air and knock or throw the ball back into the field of play without the ball or the player touching the touch line or anything outside it, play will continue. (Just like in the NBA)

Add to sixth definition on page 117:
• In this case, if the ball has passed the plane of touch when it is caught, then the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch. If the ball has not passed the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

This will make a difference in the case of long legged fullbacks who could stretch a foot onto the touchline and catch a kicked ball falling a meter into the field of play. In the past, this would have been ruled as the kicker put the ball into touch… with the lineout back up the field. Now the catcher would be considered to have put the ball into touch and the kicking team would have the lineout where the catcher stepped on the touchline. For a kick to be considered in-touch, it must actually reach touch.

All of the trials apply to Rugby 15’s. All, except those to Law 3, also apply to Rugby 7’s.

The following Law trials apply only to Rugby 7’s:
• Finals should last no longer than seven minutes each half (rationale is player welfare – the evidence shows that a disproportionate number of injuries take place in the second half of finals. Injuries per minute are higher in the second half of finals as opposed to the first half and throughout normal matches of seven minutes each way.)

• Referee Video Referral (RVR) to be taken out of on-field referees' hands with the ultimate decision being taken by the TMO – often difficult to see the screen and make a call. The RVR protocol remains unchanged. The TMO will be one of the pool of tournament referees

• The restart kick must be taken within 30 seconds of a penalty kick or dropped goal being attempted where the kick is successful or goes dead.

• Teams must form a lineout within 15 seconds from the time the referee indicates the place where the throw-in will take place.

• Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 15 seconds from the time the referee indicates the mark of the scrum.

• A penalty or free-kick must be taken within 30 seconds of being awarded.

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