Law changes

Fri, 15 Feb 2013 19:28

Western Province Referees' Society have just held the first of 10 meetings to explain the law changes to clubs, schools and referees.

The changes are seven in number, which apply globally, but it was South Africa's introduction of changes age restrictions and different scrum engagements that attracted the most interest.

Those who attend are giving the opportunity to purchase a DVD of all the changes for R10,00.

The changes being applied universally are:

1. The use of 23 players in a squad for international matches.

This will not apply in South Africa's domestic competitions.

2. A conversion must be taken within 90 seconds of the scoring of a try.

This is regardless of how long the try celebration lasts and how long it takes to get the kicking tee onto the field.

If the defenders kick the ball away, the time restriction falls away.

3. When the ball is knocked on or thrown forward and goes into touch, the non-offending team has the option of a scrum or a line-out.

In such circumstances the non-offending team is allowed to take a quick throw in.

4. Once the ball is available at a tickle/ruck the referee is to call 'Use it'. Then the team receiving the ball has five seconds to use/play the ball.

5. The quick throw-in may now be taken between the thrower's goal-line and the line of touch, i.e. where the line-out would take place.

If the throw-in is taken on the run and the ball drifts forward with the throw3er's momentum, it is to treated as a skew throw-in - unlike what constitutes a forward pass.

6. When there is a penalty or a free kick at a line-out, the non-offending team has the option of another line-out.

If the team opts for a line-out and plays the ball off the top, a drop goal will not count.
If the team opts for a line-out and forms a maul, a drop at goal will count.

7. Clothing

You are now allowed a single stud at the front of the boot and women are allowed to wear long tights and players are allowed to wear GPS (Global Positioning System) monitors in matches.

Forming a scrum

Law 20.1 (g)

The referee will call “crouch”, then “touch”. The props touch as before and withdraw their arms. The referee will then call “set”.

But the scrum calls in South Africa for all except professional rugby, provincial Under-19 and Under-21 rugby, and the first teams of the teams in the top club competitions in each of the provinces will be different.

The call for these scrums will be "crouch", then "bind", then "scrum".
In professional rugby, provincial Under-19 and Under-21 rugby and the 1st XVs of clubs in the top club competition in each province, the IRB scrum laws and procedures will apply.

When the front rows couch they will do so in such a way that ears are next to ears, so that the six sets of ears will form a line across the tunnel of the scrum.

On the call scrum, the ball will be put into the scrum, which means that the scrum then starts.

What happens on bind and scrum will differ by age group.

For ages 5 to 9: scrums will be uncontested. The engagement will be passive, there will be no pushing in the scrum and the team putting in the ball will win it.

For ages 11 to 16 (including provincial age-group rugby): There will be no contest till the referee calls scum. Then teams will be allowed to contest possession and a team is allowed to shove the opponents backwards to a limit of 1,5 metres.

For ages 18 to 19 (including provincial school age-group rugby) and on to club rugby: On bind the players will be allowed a short hit into the scrum.They will then be allowed to contest possession and shove the opponents backwards, for schools to a limit of 1,5 metres. but there is no restriction for club rugby.

NB Wheeling

Intentional wheeling of the scrum is not allowed. If a team intentionally wheels the scrum it will be penalised.

In these cases a wheeled scrum will not cause a turnover of possession.

If a school scrum wheels beyond 45 degrees, there will be a rescrum with the same team to put the ball in.
If a club scrum wheels beyond 90 degrees, there will be a rescrum with the same team to put the ball in.

NB Binding

Front row players must bind in such a way that their elbows are not below the line of their shoulders.

In all cases the scrums will be required to be stable and parallel to the touchlines and the feet

NB Mismatch

If there is a mismatch at scrumming the referee will decide that scrums will be uncontested. This is done at the referee's discretion.

NB The scrumming changes are explained in a presentation on Youtube: