Planet Rugby

Trial scrum laws start in Rugby Champs

08th July 2013 13:30

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New laws: Bind before engage

The 2013 Rugby Championship will provide the backdrop to the debut of the new 'crouch, bind, set' scrum engagement trial.

The new trial laws, aimed at enhancing player welfare and boosting scrum stability, will come into affect during the southern hemisphere tournament following a request from SANZAR.

Referees will also be instructed to ensure that the scrum is static before the ball is put into the scrum and that the ball goes in straight.

The Rugby Championship, the Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers between Canada and USA will be the only senior international events to operate the new trial ahead of global implementation at all levels at the start of the next northern and southern hemisphere seasons.

The trial is aimed at enhancing player welfare by reducing the impact of engagement by up to 25 per cent, as well as consolidating first-time completion rate of scrums and therefore enhancing the spectacle for fans.

"Whilst the trial is not officially meant to commence in the southern hemisphere until the start of next season, SANZAR, with the IRB's support, will introduce it for The Rugby Championship this year," said SANZAR CEO Greg Peters.

"It will also mean our international players will have been exposed to the new engagement process prior to heading north for the Tests in November where this process will have been in place since the start of that season in September."

The International Rugby Board has also announced the match official appointments for the 2013 Rugby Championship, Canada v USA and the Bledisloe Cup match in October.

Appointments were made by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee following a detailed review of recent performances during a busy June international window.

Rugby World Cup 2011 final referee Craig Joubert will officiate the first match under the trial sequence when he takes charge of Australia v New Zealand on August 17.

The full list of referees for The Rugby Championship 2013 is: Craig Joubert (SARU), Chris Pollock (NZRU), Jaco Peyper (SARU), Steve Walsh (ARU), Alain Rolland (IRFU), Jerome Garces (FFR), George Clancy (IRFU), Romain Poite (FFR), Nigel Owens (WRU) and Wayne Barnes (RFU). Peyper and Garces will referee two matches each.

Joubert will referee the Bledisloe Cup match between New Zealand and Australia on October 19 while the home and away Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification matches between Canada and USA will see Leighton Hodges (WRU) manage USA v Canada on August 17 and JP Doyle (RFU) take charge of Canada v USA on August 24.

"We continue to apply the best-for-best principle, while also keeping one eye on the future to ensure the best-possible panel for Rugby World Cup 2015," said IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman John Jeffrey.

"The selection for The Rugby Championship will also see our officials operate the new scrum engagement sequence trial which will also feature strict application of a stable platform before the ball enters the tunnel and a clear commitment to ensuring a straight feed. We are working in collaboration with the match officials and all our Unions to ensure that everyone is well prepared for the transition."

"As part of the selection system we continue to consult with coaches and teams and I would like to thank the Unions for their feedback, dedication and full support of the process."

The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

Apart from Jeffrey, the IRB Match Official Selection Committee comprises former elite referees Lyndon Bray (SANZAR), Tappe Henning (SANZAR), Donal Courtney (European Rugby Cup), Clayton Thomas (Six Nations) and IRB High Performance Match Officials Manager Joel Jutge.

The committee meets four times a year and makes selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed in advance of selection.

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