June International Tours

Law experiments meet further approval

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The experiments into possible law changes to be implemented after the World Cup – sometimes referred to as the Stellenbosch Laws – have met further approval in Australia.

The experiment was first conducted in the competitive residence league at Stellenbosch University and then in the Scottish Cup. Now it is being tested in the Shute Shield matches in New South Wales. Again there is approval.

The website allbacks.com, reports that while the players are finding the new way of playing tiring coaches and players give it the thumbs up.

There is more playing time, fewer penalties, fewer line-outs and less referee intervention.

The experimental laws include

* The ball can’t be kicked out on the full if it’s passed back inside the 22m line.

* Numbers in line-outs aren’t restricted — a minimum of two but no maximum — which encourages more quick throw-ins.

* At the scrum, both backlines must be 5m behind the hindmost foot, which has brought back rows into play more.

* Most infringements are now free kicks instead of penalties. Off-side and foul play are still penalised, with yellow cards still used for repeat offences.

The experiment next moves to New Zealand. A final draft of proposed law changes will be presented to an IRB committee after this year’s World Cup. Changes could then be implemented in 2008, possibly after the end of the European season and the Super 14.

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