New experimental laws to be introduced in SA from Friday
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Tuesday that it would implement a new set of experimental Laws in all local competitions from Friday.
The Laws have been developed by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and are expected to result in more continuity in matches and reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Key features are a new scrum engagement sequence, stricter policing of the scrum feed, adjustments to judicial sanctions and strengthening of concussion protocols.
The Laws were only due to be implemented in the southern hemisphere in rugby competitions starting after August 1. However, SARU took the decision to fast track the implementation to assist the Springboks in preparing for the end-of-year tour and for franchises preparing for the Vodacom Super Rugby season of 2014. They will get their first use in the Absa Currie Cup First Division, which kicks off on Friday.
The new Laws will not apply to the Castle Rugby Championship, the remainder of the current Vodacom Super Rugby season or the Vodacom Super Rugby play offs.
The most notable changes to the game will be in the scrums. All the changes are:
Props will now be required to pre-bind before the “hit”, resulting in the scrum call being changed from “crouch, touch, set” to “crouch, bind, set” – Why don’t we just go straight to uncontested scrums? This is what we are heading to at the speed of white light.
The front rows crouch and using their outside arm each prop must bind. A loose head prop must bind on the opposing tight head prop by placing the left arm inside the right arm of the tight head and gripping the tight head prop’s jersey on the back or side. A tight head prop must bind on the opposing loose head prop by placing the right arm outside the left upper arm of the opposing loose head prop and gripping the loose head prop’s jersey with the right hand only on the back or side. The props must not grip the opponent’s chest, arm, sleeve, or collar. – Is that not the rule already? Or have I just had it wrong for all these years?
Referees have been told to more strictly police a straight feed by scrumhalves into the scrum. – Something that I have been calling for, for years. Watch how many heels against the head we are going to have in the first season of this. Not many hookers know how to hook if the ball is fed straight.
Rugby fields may be no longer than 100m in length and 70m in width, while the in-goal area should not exceed 22m in depth. –
Fields for international matches and International Sevens Rugby must be as close as possible to the maximum size, and no less than 94m in length and 68m in width, while the in-goal area has to be a minimum of 6m in length.
The match-day doctor for Test matches will be the sole adjudicator on whether a player has a blood injury or not. (SARU already ensures that match-day doctors are appointed for all International, Super Rugby and all Absa Currie Cup Premiership matches). – This should have been the case all along.
All players diagnosed with or suspected of having concussion need to be removed from the match or training session and may take no further part in that particular match or training session. The player diagnosed with concussion needs to follow the management protocol as described in the IRB Concussion Guidelines (www.irbplayerwelfare.com ) before they may return to full contact participation. – Does this meanm the “Ding-Dong Test” will no longer be done? Or will the player go for it and if not cleared he can return to the game?
Judicial Officers have been given the freedom to apply sanctions of less than 50% of the lower-end entry and in some cases no sanction for offences. In the past they could only apply a minimum of 50% of the entry-level sanction. – This will be sending the wrong message. They should actually have a minimum sanction and that is it. If a player is guilty he must take the punishment. All that will happen now is that some players will get away with murder depending on who the judicial officer is. IRB should have a 3 man panel ruling on all international competition incidents.
- Yellow cards may now be expunged from a player’s disciplinary record in the case of mistaken identity, while red cards could be expunged if a judicial officer believes the offence did not warrant a red card. This was not previously allowed. – Wise move. How can you punish a player if it wasn’t him and keep it on record. TMO’s are there to help identify the players. Red Cards and Yellows should be expunged if the offence didn’t warrant a card. All Card incidents should be an automatic citing.
Red text are my own views.