BC Premier to Drop Import Restrictions; Rolling Subs for Div 1 and Lower; McKechnie Cup to Return
The BCRU announced some significant changes to the Rules of Competition for next season. One of the major changes to impact the Premier league is the dropping of the "Import" rule that limited the number of players who are not "a citizen or permanent resident". That's a major change in policy direction that will no doubt spark some discussion. On the positive side it will raise the level of play in the Premier league and help cement its reputation as the top amateur league in North America. On the negative side it will create a gap between the have and have-not clubs, clubs that can afford to bring in high quality imports will raise their level faster than those clubs who cannot afford it. It may result in some blowouts in the first season before some clubs decide to drop to Division One in the following season, creating a more elite, reduced Premier league in the long run.
Another change that affects Division One and lower is rolling subs. They will be allowed in those competitions. Also teams in Division One and lower will be able to play with less than 15 players, and with 24 hour notice the opposing team will have to match the number. The decisions seem to be aimed at clarifying the pathways of elite rugby and social rugby in BC. The Premier will become more elite and Division One and below will focus more on participation and growing the game. How it will affect the different clubs will be wait and see as the fall approaches.
The McKechnie Cup is also returning, as is the Dunbar Cup for U20 players. The McKechnie Cup is a regional competition and it gives those Division One players who want to stay with their club a shot at the elite pathway. The major question is how will the McKechnie Cup and the new Coastal Cup co-exist if they're both aimed at the fall time frame? Will the Coastal Cup continue beyond its inaugural season? We'll look for some clarification on those questions over the next couple of months.
We would like to see some reasoned discussion on these changes in the comments section. from BCRU
In line with World Rugby’s Game on Global Law Variations, BC Rugby is pleased to announce key updates to its Rules of Competition for Senior Rugby aimed at making Rugby a safer, more accessible sport for all.
The changes, which have been approved by the BC Rugby Board as recommended by the BC Rugby Competitions Committee, will come into effect for the 2022/23 season and endeavour to further advance accessibility and player welfare at the community level.
Beginning this Fall season, rolling substitutions will be introduced across all BC Rugby Senior Leagues, excluding the Men’s and Women’s Premier Leagues.
While there will still be a 23-player limit on each team’s roster, players will be free to substitute in and out of games without the previous limit of eight exchanges. Substitutions must still happen at the proper stoppages of play as facilitated by the Match Official.
Matches in Division 1 and below will also be able to play for points with fewer than 15 players on the field. Trialled with the lowest divisions in Men’s and Women’s competition this past Spring, the allowance is aimed to deter cancellations when Teams find themselves a few players short. Changes will now require 24 hours notice to opponents, who will be required to mirror the same number of players on the field.
“It’s great to see key Game on Global Law Variations being adopted for BC Rugby’s Senior Leagues. The objective of Game On Global is to make the community game safer and more enjoyable, and I congratulate the BC Rugby Competition Committee for making that a priority in the design of their Senior Competitions.” Jennifer Gray, Regional Partnerships Manager (RAN) with World Rugby
RESTRICTION ON IMPORT PLAYERS IN PREMIER LEAGUES REMOVED
Another key change has been to remove the restriction on ‘Import’ Players in Premier League competitions, while the restriction on playing capped, carded, or contracted Players has been increased from four to five Players.
“Premier League players should be playing at Premier League level and, in line with our Code of Conduct, we want to strengthen our commitment to be inclusive for all. Welcoming paying members, no matter where they have come from, is a tangible way to continue to grow all competitions and ensure our Premier competition welcomes the best amateur players residing in British Columbia.” John Tait, BC Rugby Technical Director
In support of these changes, BC Rugby is pleased to confirm the return of the McKechnie Cup and Dunbar Keg Men’s Competitions this Fall which will focus on working with players that are on the pathway to Senior and U20 Men’s National Team selection. As such, the Dunbar Keg competition has been changed from a U23 competition to being for players aged between 18 and 20 years of age.
Given the timing of the Rugby World Cup this fall in New Zealand, the Ruth Hellrud-Brown Cup will be scheduled for a time in 2023 to compliment the new cycle for the National Women’s Teams.
The BC Rugby Senior Rules of Competition can be found here.
World Rugby introduced the Game on Global Law Variations in November 2021 to accelerate sustainable Rugby at the community level beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and improve safety for all participants.