World Rugby bring in new scrum law immediately

World Rugby bring in new scrum law immediately

By Simon Chadbone
9 July
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In the interests of player safety, World Rugby has banned ‘axial loading’

CONFIRMED: World Rugby bring in new scrum law immediately

In the interests of player safety, World Rugby has banned ‘axial loading’, a process of concentrating scrum power on the opposing hooker instead of allowing it to be diffused along the length of the shoulder of players in the front row, which is seen as the axis of the scrum.

World Rugby stated last week that: “Following a detailed discussion on the risks associated to front-row players’ necks during the scrum engagement process, the Law Review Group (LRG) also supported a proposed amendment to Law 19 (Scrum) that, if approved, will outlaw the practice of front-rows placing their heads onto opposition players’ shoulders between the call of ‘bind’ and ‘set’.

“It has been shown that this practice has resulted in potentially dangerous levels of axial loading on front-rows’ cervical spines.

“Given this issue has significant potential welfare implications, it will be actioned immediately.”

The Law change is now to take place. The World Rugby protocol is as follows:

During the scrum cadence, a hooker will not be allowed to lean and “deload” the weight of the entire forwards onto the shoulder of the opposition hooker at the “BIND” call from the referee.
There must be a clear gap with longer binding if necessary.

While non-compliance will result in a FK on the first occasion, any further offending of this nature, will result in an upgrade to a penalty, which will apply for the rest of the match. The implications of further repeat offending also carry with it the sanction of a yellow card as is customary in our laws.”

Original article

As is the norm, the World Rugby law makers have snuck in a few extra tweaks to the 2019 Law Book that we revealed for you yesterday.

There is a four-year laws review cycle for significant changes to ensure there are no major changes in the immediate build up to a Rugby World Cup year. While none of the 2019 changes are significant, it’s a little odd that they have been introduced now.

So, here’s what’s different. If you’re a scrum half, you’ll need to take note!

Law 6: Additional persons: Medical assistance
In previous law books, it said “only qualified doctors or physiotherapists” were allowed to enter the playing area to attend to a player. In the 2019 law book, it recognises that other trained medical people may be present so it’s now: “Appropriately trained and accredited first-aid or immediate (pitch-side) care persons may enter the playing area to attend to injured players at any time it is safe to do so.”

Law 15.4: Offside at the ruck

The new law defines the offside lines in a ruck as being a “line that runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any ruck participant.”

Previously it was the hindmost foot of the player on your own team. This recognises that in a ruck players are likely to be on the ground and not necessarily on their feet.

Law 19.30 Offside at the scrum
Scrum halves – pay attention!!

Law 19.30, 2019

This change hasn’t been announced as such anywhere, but actually solves a problem for referees which we’ve just tried to “manage” for years.

In the picture here, assuming red strike the ball against the head, we wouldn’t then want the blue scrum half to get into the highlighted gaps between either flanker and the number 8. In law, providing the 9 doesn’t overstep the ball, they weren’t offside or doing anything illegal. But being in that space is never going to lead to a positive outcome so we’ve always managed them not to be there to reduce a flashpoint.

In the new 2019 law book, going into that space is now a penalty offence.

18.25 Blocking the throw at the lineout

Technically, this isn’t new, but it corrects an accidental omission in the 2018 law book. When the 2017 law book was simplified for 2018, this written element of law was accidentally missed out, even though the picture was retained. The wording returns now in 2019.

Law 18.25 Opposition players must not block the throw. Sanction: Free-kick.
NB Thanks to the eagle eyes on for spotting that one!

Law 9.26 – Don’t drop a team mate
You may remember that last year, World Rugby added a new law to mandate that a player lifting a teammate, brings that player back down to ground safely. This is included in the 2019 law book as Law 9.26


World Rugby Laws 2019

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