World Rugby have announced a new set of law trials that will be tested in domestic competition over the coming seasons.
There are a wide range of new laws being trialled, with among the most eye-catching, a change in scoring in which tries are worth six points and penalties just two, as is being tried in Wales at the moment.
Every four years, rugby’s governing body undertakes a complete health-check of the game’s playing trends across the Rugby World Cup cycle to ensure that the sport continues to develop at all levels around the world. This extensive process is undertaken with full union consultation.
The approval of the package of law trials by the World Rugby Executive Committee, follows detailed analysis and evaluation of union submissions by the specialist Law Review Group (LRG), Scrum Steering Group (SSG) and the Multi-Disciplinary Injury Prevention Group (MDIPG) over the past five months and is the third of a seven-phase process of law change.
World Rugby’s Pacific Challenge, U20 Trophy, Tbilisi Cup and Nations Cup in 2016 will trial the full package of law amendments, while the first trials are underway with the Principality Cup in Wales and the National Rugby Championship in Australia. A full inventory of competitions will be released in due course.
LRG and Rugby Committee Chairman John Jeffrey said: "World Rugby is committed to continual review and assessment of the laws of the game to ensure that rugby is enjoyable to watch and play and is as safe to play as possible at all levels, from the elite, professional tier right down to community and youth rugby.
"This important process occurs after every Rugby World Cup and is an opportunity to take stock, review the laws, drawing on expert input and make changes where needed with those who play and support the game and ongoing prosperity of the sport in mind.
"It is great to see our unions and associations making such a strong contribution to this process, while the level of expertise and discussion from our expert group when considering the submissions was very impressive. While this is not a fait accompli, we are excited by the package of trials and look forward to detailed coach, player and fan feedback."
Main World Rugby Law Trials (full trials here):
Penalties awarded after time has expired can be kicked to touch and the lineout will be played.
Teams can choose which advantage they want to play if a side infringes on multiple occasions.
Revised points scoring: Six points for a try, two points for a conversion, two points for a penalty.
No conversions after a penalty try, which is automatically worth eight points.
A maul must start to move within five seconds or the ball must be used.
A player who plays the ball while his foot is in touch but before the ball has crossed the plane of the touchline is deemed to have carried the ball into touch.
Scrum changes allowing a scrum-half to stand with his shoulder level with the centre of the scrum, promoting scrum stability.
The introduction of a five-metre line drop-out as an alternative to a five-metre scrum for a defending team.