Several optional law changes for rugby union’s community game, ranging from weight-banded matches to pitch size, have been announced by World Rugby.
The governing body confirmed that these changes can be implemented by national unions from January 2022.
Modified contact, lowered tackle height, game duration and flexibility in number of players per team are other areas which are included as part of World Rugby’s Game on Global.
Implementation of the law variations at grassroots level will be centrally monitored and a global research project will provide an evaluation of the impacts with regard to injury-prevention and overall participation impact.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The community game is the heart and soul of our sport, it is the foundation upon which our house is built and today represents a landmark for rugby around the globe with the introduction of optional community law variations for our national member unions.
Happy with survey’s results
“I am delighted that today’s tangible outcomes were borne out of an initial survey that received more than 1,800 respondents from around the world and builds upon existing models in England, New Zealand and Wales.
“The law amendments are a key element of our long-term objective to make the game more accessible, more sustainable, safer and available to all across the globe.”
Rugby Football Union development director Steve Grainger, who is part of the community laws flexibility working group, added: “As Covid emerged, we moved quickly to introduce law adaptations and Game On principles, keeping players engaged by allowing different formats of the game.
“We received lots of helpful feedback from players, coaches and match officials and have enjoyed working with World Rugby to share and build on these learnings.
“The Game on Global law variations provide an exciting opportunity to offer different game formats that will allow us to attract and retain players who want different rugby experiences beyond the full contact game.
“The health, well-being and social benefits associated with playing rugby are widely recognised, and we are delighted that these law variations will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of participating in rugby in different formats and levels of the game.”