World Rugby has ratified the addition of six new law changes that will come into effect in the northern hemisphere on August 1st this year.
There’s been a concerted effort by rugby’s governing bodies to simplify the game in recent years and these new amendments are part of the streamlining of the laws.
These adjustments relate to the scrum, tackle and ruck laws.
During scrums, the scrum-half will now not get a signal from the referee to throw the ball in and can now “align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.”
Furthermore, the number eight will from the start of next month be permitted to pick the ball from the feet of the second rows in order to promote continuity.
The final alteration to Law 20 allows for a free-kick to be awarded against the team who put the ball in if no player strikes for the ball.
The sole adaption of Law 15 states the following:
“The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.”
The most crucial change falls under Law 16 where the ruck is effectively redefined.
“A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.”
Previously, two players had to be on their feet and over the ball to form a ruck. It was this law that Italy used to such great effect against England during the Six Nations.
Finally, a player can now not kick the ball out of a ruck, they can only strike it backwards.
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