Are you ready for these laws?
There are some possible alterations to the Laws of the Game that may be used in the November Tests.
It is not easy to time law changes in this age of boundless seasons. There are some possible alterations to the Laws of the Game that may be used in the November Tests.
It was easier when April either ended or started and September either began or ended, depending on which hemisphere you were in. Now it is hard to time things so has not to bundle a new bunch of laws into a competition that is on the go.
That applies to the experiments at present on the go. The northern hemisphere was able to make neat changes introducing them. In the south some were put into action some not.
The new three-word scrum engagement happens in the north. In the south it was not used in the new Rugby Championship. But New Zealand used it in the ITM Cup Final, South Africa not in the Currie Cup Final.
Another important one is this five-second period of waiting at tackle/rucks - oh, and the quick throw-in from touch.
There is discussion talking place on Monday to iron out what's in and what not, and the match officials for the November Tests will meet at Lensbury to be briefed on what should happen.
Here are some points that could be considered. They are law amendments for 'global trial', starting at about the beginning of September in the north and at around 1 January 2013 in the south. Here we are three months into the north and minus two months for the southern introduction.
It's not a comfortable situation.
Here are points that could count. They come with a WARNING. They may not happen at all!
1. Scrum cadence.
This will be reduced to three calls - crouch - touch - set. Pause is out and engage is reduced to a sharp monosyllable.
The laws coyly say: "The 'set' call is not a command but an indication that the front rows may come together when ready.
If it's not a command what is all this fuss about taking the hit and fading on the hit. The hit is rubbish.
Teams are now allowed to nominate eight replacements/substitutes instead of the seven previously allowed. This is the French system aimed at reducing the number of uncontested scrums. This will happen in November.
3. Quick throw-ins
Up till now the quick throw-in was allowed between the place where the ball went out and the throwing team's goal-line. Now it could well be, as it is in the north, between where the line-out would be and the throwing team's goal-line.
4. Time for the conversion
The maximum time to take the conversion has been laid down as 90 seconds from the time the try was scored. It used to be a minute from indicating that the kick was to be taken, which was silly in the case of a conversion.
5. Five seconds to play
When a team has won the ball at a ruck and it is available, that team must play the ball before five seconds is up or forfeit it. It then becomes a scrum to the other side.
If the ball-carrier in a maul goes to ground and the ball is available to be played, that team must play the ball before five seconds is up or forfeit it. It then becomes a scrum to the other side.
So no queuing up and rolling the ball in and out and all those other annoying bits of time-wasting that some scrumhalves seem to think is playing rugby.
6. Knock-on option
If a knock-on or forward pass goes into touch it is a scrum now but then the other team will have the option of having the scrum or having a line-out. Having an option is new and may well suit a team suffering in the scrums.
7. Using the TMO
The law trials allow an extended use of the TMO. He can now be used to identify foul play or a player guilty of foul play.
Also he may be consulted about infringements in the lead-up to a try.
That one needs clarification and amplification.
8. Options at penalty kicks and free kicks
At present the team that benefits from a penalty or a free kick, has the option of choosing a scrum. Now, if that penalty of free kick is for a line-out infringement, the team benefiting may also opt for a line-out.
9. Single stud
At present the IRB's clothing regulation reads: There shall not be a single stud/cleat at the toe of the boot.
The new trial allows for a single stud at the toe of the boot.
10. Scoring from a free kick
The team awarded a free kick cannot score a dropped goal until after the ball next becomes dead, or until after an opponent has played or touched it, or has tackled the ball carrier. This restriction applies also to a scrum or line-out taken instead of a free kick.
That just makes things clearer.
NB This is speculation. It may not happen.