World Rugby has announced a new set of laws that will go on trial in certain areas of Australia and Wales, with the successful ones being taken on to global trials in 2017. The laws have been put in place in the hope of making the game not only safer, but more enjoyable for a growing global audience.
Six point tries
The biggest of the new laws would see tries raise to six points, the same as an American Football touchdown, with penalties being dropped down to two. This is the WRU’s attempt to prevent teams from winning games through penalties alone.
This may be an appreciated move by the fans, as it would hopefully see teams look to open up a little. However, the law may mean that teams become a bit more happy to infringe at the breakdown, knowing the punishment is less in terms of points and will not affect them so much as a three pointer.
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Change to the scrum
Another area that will see change is the scrum. The front rows will now come together on the ‘crouch’ call, rather than the third and final call of ‘set’. This will reduce the impact at scrum time and hopefully minimalize the collapses and the time spent refereeing the scrum.
But it would also reduce the idea of a contest at the scrum, which has steadily been reduced ever since the feed has gone crooked and the idea of an ‘engage’ was removed.
Mauls need to move
Alongside these, the mauls have been altered so that they must be moving within five seconds or it is over. This will likely speed up the breakdown whilst also seeing more ‘off the top’ lineout calls.
The idea that even if a team can no longer field a full scrum of forwards, it must go uncontested. However, a rule states that they must include the full eight men. This means should a front rower see yellow and there are no replacements, scrums go uncontested, but the team must have a full eight.
So the law change means that teams will have to defend an overlap from set pieces. Hopefully, this change will mean that teams will keep enough forward replacements in their team and prevent anyone ‘tactically’ leaving out forward replacements in the hope of seven-man uncontested scrums.
Penalties in overtime
Finally, the rule change for penalties will mean that should a team win a penalty on overtime, they will be allowed to kick the ball out of play and take the lineout. This will be a good manoeuvre in preventing a team from infringing on purpose to prevent any fast break.
A lot of the law changes will see a fairer and potentially more entertaining game. But some of them may require a second look at, especially the points system. These changes will take time to adjust to, but will likely see the game improve.
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