A number of law trials referred to as Global Law Trials will come into force at all levels of rugby here in England and the rest of northern hemisphere rugby from 1 August 2017 and will last for an initial period of one year.
Some of these trials are already in force in the southern hemisphere and were used during the British & Irish Lions tour. These amendments address such things as front-row replacements, advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping, and appear to be tweaks and refinements of the existing laws.
What is more interesting, at least to us supporters, are the new additions coming into effect first in the northern hemisphere and later in the South. They revolve mainly around the scrum and ruck laws. The first change which many English and Italian fans will notice is what constitutes a ruck and when the offside line is now drawn. Dubbed a one man ruck, a ruck now commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground, something to please Eddie Jones I’m sure. Other ruck laws include that the ball can no longer just be kicked out of a ruck but must be hooked backwards instead.
The new scrum laws are hopefully going to address the continuing problems surrounding scrummaging and it will be interesting to see whether this happens or that teams will forever concoct new ways of usurping any chance of consistent scrums. According to World Rugby they are there to make the game simpler to referee, watch and focus on player safety, we will see.
For the full list of new laws to come into effect on 1st August click the link below