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IRB Council agrees accelerated ELV decision timetable


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The International Rugby Board Council at its recent Special Meeting in Hong Kong reaffirmed its commitment to the global trial of the Experimental Law Variations that will commence on August 1 and called for an early review of the trials in the first quarter of 2009.

Council also agreed on a way forward for Age Grade pathway competitions in terms of ELV application following requests from several Member Unions for Council to clarify how ELVs will apply in this area.

“The IRB Council reaffirmed that the approved global trial of ELVs as adopted by Council in May this year will go ahead from August 1 with no alteration to the programme.

The 13 approved ELVs will be implemented worldwide in the trial,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“Council further determined that the present situation whereby different ELV programmes are being trialled around the world was far from ideal. It is the result of the nature of the ELV testing programme and the timing differences between the northern and southern seasons.

However, Council is determined to ensure that one set of Laws are agreed on for the future in the shortest timeframe without compromising the ELV global trial.”

“Therefore Council agreed that the Rugby Committee convene a meeting in the first quarter next year to begin the next phase of the formal ELV review process.


“This detailed review will include input from the IRB Executive Committee and Union representatives including Rugby technical directors. The Rugby Committee will then make a recommendation to Council in May 2009 on which, if any, ELVs should be adopted into Law,” added Mr Lapasset.

“Council did express its disappointment that an additional trial in a Northern Hemisphere tournament of the sanctions ELV that have been trialled in the Super 14 has yet to be agreed by Rugby stakeholders in the northern hemisphere.

Council requested in May that the sanctions ELV be trialled in a top level competition somewhere in the north to allow further detailed analysis and comparison of this part of the initial ELV programme. This ELV sees many penalty goals awarded for technical offences down graded to free kicks.”

“We remain hopeful that following further discussions between Unions, clubs and provinces and other stakeholders in the north such a trial will be put in place during the upcoming 2008/09 season,” added Mr Lapasset.

Council also noted that Unions have developed different Player pathway programmes unique to their Player development requirements and structures. The custom and practice has evolved whereby some Unions, while not creating new Laws, have evolved local applications of the Laws of the Game to complement their local circumstances and development pathways at Under 19 levels.

“With the move by many senior Unions to make Under 20 the key player pathway target for Age Grade Rugby, Council has decided that this practice of local pathways and specific Law application should be fully reviewed.

A full audit will be carried out on such pathways applied by various Unions around the world. The review will determine whether the age threshold of Under 19 for Age Grade variations was still suitable for the Game. A recommendation will be made to Council towards the end of 2009 on any future applications and/or at which age level they may be applied to,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“While this comprehensive review is underway Council agreed that Unions may continue at their own risk to maintain local Law adaptations at Under 19 level and below which fit local pathway requirements and which address other necessary or relevant circumstances.

This includes local application of the ELVs approved for global trial from August 1 this year,” added Mr Lapasset.


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