Rugby is set for a seismic shift in its laws with the sport’s governing bodies trying their utmost to simplify the confusing aspects of the game.
The law book could be cut by as much as 50% under the “Laws Simplification Project” commissioned by the World Rugby Council. They aim to have completed the process by late next year.
The organisation is also set to trial seven new laws one of which sees a significant altering of what is considered a ruck. Law 16.1 (b) came under massive scrutiny during the Six Nations this year when Italy caused havoc in Twickenham as England struggled to adapt to the visitors not competing at the breakdown.
As they didn’t engage, no ruck was formed and therefore, neither was any offside line allowing Italian forwards to rush into the English backline.
— RealRef Rugby (@RealRef_Rugby) 27 February 2017
Under the proposed new version of the law, an attacker or defender on their feet over the ball now create a ruck and therefore, the offside line. It currently requires both.
Ironically, England registered their opposition to this law change, according to a report by Stuff. However, it passed by a majority vote and the trial will get underway next year if ratified by World Rugby.
It will be introduced in the southern hemisphere on January 1st and north of the equator on August 1st.