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Rugby Union

Playing rugby union

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A typical passage of rugby union takes the following form. One team will initially gain possession of the ball, either from a restart kick or a set piece (scrummage and line-out, see below). Although the team in possession may choose to advance by kicking the ball forward, out of the hands the team in possession will usually seek to progress toward the opposition by running forward while carrying the ball. The ball may be thrown from one player to another (passing) but not be thrown toward the opposition goal. Any team mate in nearer the opposition goal than the ball carrier is out of the game, and must not interfere with play, which means that American football style blocking is forbidden. The team not in possession attempts to stop the ball carrier by grabbing them and bringing them to ground (a tackle). A tackled player must pass or release the ball, allowing the two teams to contest possession of the loose ball. Play does not stop unless there is an infringement of the Laws, or the ball/ball-carrier leaves the field of play. If the ball goes into touch (off the field of play), the game restarts with a line-out. If the game stops due to an infringement, play restarts with either a scrummage, free kick or penalty kick (depending on the severity of the infringement) to the non-infringing team.

Game laws and methods Edit

Rugby union differs from association football (soccer) in that the hands can be employed to move the ball. However, a player can only pass the ball backwards or laterally (i.e. not forward) to another player, or kick it. This means that the majority of progress made by an attacking team occurs through a leap frog cycle of passing the ball, running to make ground, being tackled and repeating this process. Each of these cycles (greatly simplified) is called a phase of play.

An aspect of rugby union which sets it apart from most other sports is the concept of "advantage". If one team commits an infraction of the Laws but the opposing team gains territorial or tactical advantage from the mistake, the referee will "play advantage" and allow play to continue - but if that team doesn't actually gain an advantage, the referee will still award them a scrum, free kick or penalty, as appropriate to the original infraction.

What constitutes "advantage", and how long play is allowed to continue to see if any advantage is gained, is a moot point: different referees can and do take different approaches to this question. But in general, if in subsequent "advantage" play a team has the chance to do what they could have done if the referee had stopped play for the infraction, then advantage has been gained and the referee will call "advantage over". So, for instance, suppose a team commits an infraction that would result in their opponents being awarded a scrum. If their opponents are able to take clean possession of the ball and advance it following the infraction, then they have done what they would have been able to do from a scrum - advantage is thus over. If on the other hand their possession is "messy" or closely contested then there is no advantage, and the referee will (or should) award the original scrum. Advantage play automatically ends if the team seeking advantage commits an infringement itself: normally, they would then be awarded the consequences of the original infringement, but if they commit an act of foul play, then they will (or should) be penalised directly themselves.

Playing field Edit

A rugby union field, known as a pitch, consists of a maximum playing area of 144x70 m on a grassy flat surface.[1] Lines are painted on to the field at regular intervals; dead ball line, goal line (usually called the try line), 22-m line[2], 10-m line (broken line) and half-way/midfield. This is mirrored on the other side of the field. Lines are also located 5 m away from the goal line and touchline and 15 m from the touchline (broken line). The length between the two goal lines is usually 100 m, although the IRB rules merely stipulate this is a maximum. The width and length of the playing field, and the distance from goal line to the dead ball line vary from pitch to pitch. Although there is no rule to say that the pitch needs to be flat or level it does state that if either team feels the pitch is unsafe, the referee must try to resolve the issues and must not start the match if any part of the ground is considered to be dangerous.[3]

The goal consists of a pair of vertical posts placed centrally on each goal line, a distance of 5.6 m separating the posts.[1] A horizontal bar 3 m above the ground connects the two posts; giving each goal the shape of the letter 'H'.[1]

1.2-m flags are placed next to the field for indication on the halfway line, 22, goal line and dead ball line. The goal line and dead ball line flags are put on the intersection with the touchline and are considered out if hit by a player carrying the ball, or the ball itself.

In rugby union, unlike association football, the lines bordering the field of play are regarded as out of play. For example, a player standing on but not over the touchline is regarded to be "in touch". Similarly the goal line (and the goalposts) are considered part of the in-goal area; so a player may score a try by grounding the ball on the goal line (or against the base of one of the posts), but the dead ball line is considered outside the in-goal area, so a try is not awarded if the ball grounds on it.

OfficiatingEdit

The game is controlled by a single referee, who is assisted by two touch judges. The touch judges adjudicate when the ball or ball carrier is in touch and whether a kick at goal is successful. They may also assist the referee by commenting on other infringements (such as foul play) and by confirming whether or not a try has been scored; this manner of assistance is usually provided only in top-level club matches and internationals, where the two neutral touch judges have been appointed by the appropriate board. When a match is televised, a television match official (TMO), a qualified referee, may be appointed. The primary role of a TMO is to use television replays to advise the referee whether a try is legal. The circumstances in which the TMO's advice can be sought are stipulated prior to the match by the appropriate governing body. Despite the presence of other officials, the referee is the sole arbiter of the game, "the sole judge of fact and law," and is not bound to take their advice. If a referee is unable to finish the game, a replacement takes over; this is usually the more senior of the two touch judges, in which case another official will take over the duties of touch judge.

File:Punch - The Perfect Scrum.jpg

The referee may punish a player's misconduct by a caution (yellow card) or sending-off (red card). Players may be cautioned for foul or violent conduct, for persistent breaches of the same rule, or for deliberate infringement to prevent their opponents from gaining a decisive advantage - a so-called "professional foul". However, rugby is a highly physical game and minor confrontations between players are not normally penalised. A player receiving a caution is temporarily suspended from play for ten minutes. This has become known as the "sin-bin." If the same player subsequently commits a further cautionable offence, he is sent off for the rest of the game. A player can also be sent off permanently, without first being cautioned, for serious foul play (eg kicking or headbutting an opponent). Players who are sent off can also expect to be banned from playing by their national governing body for a period of time.

It is less usual for rugby players to contest or argue with a referee's decision than it is in sports such as association football. However, if they do so the referee may penalise their team further by advancing the ball 10 metres towards their goal line before restarting play. Thus, if the referee awarded one team a penalty on the halfway line and a member of the opposing team argued with that decision, the penalty would instead be awarded on the 10-metre line inside the penalised team's half. This would, for instance, increase the chances of a penalty kick being successful.

Match structure Edit

Before a game commences, traditionally, a coin will be tossed to determine which side will kick off and what direction the teams will be running. This is usually performed by a referee although the laws suggest that it should be done by one of the captains. In most cases, the home side will elect what side of the coin they will choose, either heads or tails. The winner may choose to kick off or which direction they will run. A number of elements may become part of the decision-making process of a coin winner. A personal preference may be that a team wishes to start the match defending, thus will elect to receive the ball, or vice versa.

Weather can be a decisive factor, such as the possibility of having a potentially large advantage over an opponent if there is a high amount of wind, as it would aid their kicking game. Depending on the time of the game, the sun might be a factor in the decision, being a potential problem to the vision of players, depending on what way they run. The 2006 Super 14 Final was affected by poor weather, with low fog preventing players from seeing little more than 40 metres.

Depending on when the toss was performed, both sides will make their way out onto the field. Kick-off will be performed from the center of the field. Each half lasts 40 minutes, but play comes to an end only when the ball goes dead. Variations in time and extra-time apply in any number of interpretations of the game, or tournaments. 'Half-time' lasts around 10 minutes, allowing for players to recover from fatigue and for coach interaction as well as other factors, such as time for crowds to access amenities and facilities. In the second half, the teams swap the direction of running, and the team kicking off, so any possible advantage such as wind may now be in favour of the other side, although the conditions may no longer be present.

Scoring Edit

The aim of rugby union is to score more points than the opposition. Teams score in several ways:

  • Touching the ball to the ground over the opponents' goal line using the hand, hands, arm or arms. Also by pressing the ball down (with controlled downward pressure) with any point on the body from the waist to the neck (inclusive), over the opponents' goal line. The opponents' goal line includes the base of the posts, which is considered to be part of the goal line. Doing either of these results in a try, worth 5 points. The try got its name because originally the touching down of the ball only gave you a "try" at scoring by successfully kicking for goal, which were the only points scored if the kick was good.
  • A penalty try can be awarded if the defending team commits a penalty infringement (ie one for which a penalty would normally be awarded) and, in the judgement of the referee, a try would probably have been scored had the infringement not occurred. They are commonly awarded for defensive infringements at the ruck, scrum or maul, or for defensive offside, close to the goal line; it is also common for the infringing player to be cautioned or sent off. A penalty try is also worth 5 points.
  • After scoring a try, or being awarded a penalty try, the scoring team attempts a conversion: a player takes a kick at goal in line with where the ball was touched down (or from in front of the posts for a penalty try). Scoring the goal earns 2 points.
  • Kicking the ball above the crossbar and between the uprights of a large 'H'-shaped set of posts. This may either occur from a penalty kick or drop kicked. In the latter case, the ball must strike the ground before being kicked (a drop goal). Both types of goal score 3 points.

Goal kicking is a major part of the game, with games being won and lost at these situations. An attacking team with an accurate goal kicker can punish transgressions anywhere in the defending team's half, and sometimes further out. This threat puts more pressure on the defence as they have to avoid giving away penalties.

The running game Edit

Running rugby occurs when a team attempts to progress forward by running with, and passing, the ball. The ball can be passed in-line or backwards, but cannot travel forward. A scrum is awarded to the opponent team when a non-voluntary forward pass occurs, or when the ball is poorly caught and "knocked-on" the ground towards the opponent's goal line. There is an exception to this rule: a player charging a kicking opponent who blocks his kick does not "knock-on" the ball and the games carry on. A deliberate forward pass or a deliberate pass that directly ends in touch is punished by a penalty kick to the opposing team.

There are three basic methods of running rugby: A drive around a ruck or a scrum is usually performed by the forwards and is intended to break the defensive line using weight and force. The player runs directly into the opponents, protecting the ball possess when the contact occurs. This play usually produces a slow but safe advance and sometimes is aimed to absorb defenders in the subsequent rucks to contest the ball, opening gaps in the defensive lines for the backs.

Alternatively, the ball leaves a ruck, a scrum or a line-out by a longer pass from the scrum-half to the fly-half, who then chooses to pass the ball to the backs where "open play" occurs. The backs run forward, attempting to dodge and overrun opponents or, if a tackle cannot be avoided, waiting until the last moment to let the most defenders close in before making a lateral pass to a teammate (an "offload") or taking the tackle to start a ruck. A good set of backs will vary the angle and points of attack of their runs, so as to receive the ball in a position that will enable them to run through the gaps in the opposing defence.

Finally, there is the counterattack: a player receives a kicked ball behind his own 22m line and elects to run instead of kicking the ball forward. This "counterattack" run is useful for surprising opponents expecting a kick. It also has the advantage for the ball carrier, who will, at least initially, be surrounded by more space than usual, as many of the kicker's teammates may be offside.

The breakdown Edit

The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground (a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck), or contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet (a maul). Such circumstances are known by the collective name of "the breakdown", and each is governed by a specific law.

Tackle Edit

A player may tackle an opposing player who has the ball by holding him while bringing him to ground. If a ball carrier is held by an opposition player but still has forward momentum he may continue to slide over the goal-line and score a try. One knee touching the ground, or the ball touching the ground, is sufficient for a ball carrier to be deemed to be grounded. A tackled player must release the ball, either by passing to a team mate or placing it on the ground, and the tackler must release him and move away, allowing the ball to become available, or for a ruck to form. If the ball-carrier is not brought to ground, then it is not a tackle and a maul might form. Players often deliberately go to ground rather than allow a maul to form, to take advantage of the rules governing rucks.

There are a number of laws governing how to tackle, the most notable of which are that the tackler cannot tackle above the shoulder (the neck and head are out of bounds), and the tackler has to attempt to wrap his arms around the player being tackled to complete the tackle. It is illegal to trip a player using feet or legs, but hands may be used (this being referred to as a tap-tackle or ankle-tap).

Ruck Edit

A ruck [1] is a contest for possession. Once a tackle has grounded a player, he must release the ball and try to move out of the way, as must the tackler. The first player(s) arriving from either side may pick up the ball; however as soon as two players, one from each side, bind together — usually by locking shoulders as they face each other — with the ball at their feet they have formed a ruck. As more players arrive they may join the ruck, but must do so from the last or back foot (also known as the "gate") of their own side. In a ruck no player may use his hands to win the ball, instead each side attempts to push the other side back, and players use their feet to hook the ball backwards towards their own side — an action known as "rucking the ball" where it will be picked up by the scrum-half or half-back who waits behind the ruck. Players in a ruck may not deliberately go to ground themselves. If the ball becomes trapped in a ruck, the referee awards a scrum to the side going forward.

Most infringements occur in rucks. Players may seek to slow down the speed of the recycling of the opposition's ball or speed up their own by using their hands illegally, or by lying over the ball, or going to ground deliberately. Such infringements result in penalties. If the attacking team loses possession by legal means, either because of the attacking player dropping the ball or a defending player stealing it, then the ball is said to have been "turned over". After a turnover, play carries on without stopping, and the attacker/defender roles of the two teams are switched.

The ruck and the maul are the two phases of the game where the offside law is particularly important. Any player not taking part in the ruck and maul must retreat behind the "offside line", a notional line that runs through rearmost foot of a player in the ruck/maul, parallel to the goal lines.

Maul Edit

A maul [2] occurs when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and one or more of the ball carrier's team mates bind on the ball carrier. Once a maul has formed other players may join in but, as in a ruck, they must do so from their own side. If the maul stops moving forward, and the ball is not available to be played, then the referee awards a scrum to the side not in possession when the maul began (unless the maul was formed immediately after a player received a kick other than a kick-off). The tactic of the rolling maul occurs when mauls are set up, and the ball is passed backwards through the players' hands to one at the rear, who rolls off the side to change the direction of the drive. This tactic can be extremely effective in gaining ground and takes great skill and technique both to do properly and to try to prevent. It is a tactic most commonly used when the attacking side is inside their opponents' 22-m line. It is illegal, on safety grounds, to pull down a maul, so that players fall to the ground. Referees are aware that many sides will try to stop a maul by deliberately collapsing it and will watch carefully for this illegal tactic. On the other hand, a maul is not properly formed if the ball carrier binds on to a team-mate from the rear, and both of them then drive into one or more opponents. The player in front is either accidentally or deliberately offside and the referee awards either a scrum or a penalty to the opposing side, depending on whether the infringement was viewed as accidental or deliberate. The tactic is sometimes referred to by players, commentators, and referees by the colloquial term "truck and trailer".

Offside at the breakdown Edit

When a maul or ruck occurs, anyone who is not behind the back foot of all teammates who are involved is offside, and may not take part in the game. An offside player who takes part in the breakdown is punished with penalty kick; if he shows no intention to play from his position, however, no penalty is awarded. In general the offside rule applies only if the ball has been kicked, or if a ruck, maul or set piece is taking place. In open, running play, there is no notion of offside; however, an attacking player who is in front of the ball carrier and interferes with the play may be guilty of obstruction.

The kicking game Edit

In specific situations it is common to kick the ball rather than attempt to make progress with ball in hand. This will usually be done to obtain a territorial advantage, relieve pressure in defense, or turn the opposition and create disarray in their defensive ranks.

When the team has the ball behind its own 22-meter line it is important to relieve pressure and gain a better field position. The most common course of action is to kick the ball directly in touch as long as possible. This kick is usually performed by the fly-half if the ball was secured at a set piece or breakdown, or by the fullback or a wing if the ball was received from an opponent's kick. Due to the fact that a line-out occurs when the ball is in touch, making a surprise counterattack from the opposing team unlikely, it is generally better to get a "short and sure" line-out than a long but more dangerous kick.

When there seems little prospect of progressing with running rugby in the midfield a player, frequently the scrum-half, the fly-half, or a centre, kicks the ball to move it into an undefended spot of the field, forcing the opponents to leave their positions to recover and play it. This kick usually travels fast and low, and fly-halves who perform it usually try to hit the ground just before the side line and then bounce the ball in touch, thus producing a line-out far away.

An "up and under" (aka "Garryowen") kick is performed as an attack option. The kicker, usually the fullback, kicks the ball high and short, and then charges to contest possession. The "cross kick" is a variation of this play that is becoming increasingly common: a slow kick from the fly-half travels diagonally forward and is caught in the opponent's goal zone by a fast teammate.

A "grubber" kick is a short, low kick in which the ball rolls on the ground. It's a common play for a wing close to the touch-line and can be very effective if the opponent's goal line is close and the defenders are still in front of the kicker (thus being easier to overrun). In addition, the shape of the rugby ball means that an unfortunate bounce can leave the defenders looking foolish.

The kicking game is generally considered the sole preserve of the backs. Exceptions do occur, however, and many forwards like to demonstrate their kicking prowess during practice sessions. Flanker John Taylor kicked a famous penalty for Wales in the 1971 Five Nations, lock John Eales occasionally kicked goals for Australia and All Blacks Number 8 Zinzan Brooke even scored a drop goal from the midfield.

Offside after a kick Edit

When a ball is kicked, any teammates in front of the kicker are offside. An offside player becomes onside when the kicker, or a teammate who is not offside, runs past him, or when an opponent either catches the ball and runs 5 meters with it or unsuccessfully attempts to play the ball. Any offside player within 10 meters of where the ball will land must immediately retreat to that distance until played onside by a teammate.

Set-pieces Edit

Set-pieces are used to restart play after a stoppage. They are, principally:

Restart kicks Edit

File:Force Rugby Kickoff.jpg
Play is started at the beginning of each half by a kick-off. One side—determined following the toss of a coin—takes a drop kick from the middle of the halfway line to start the half. The ball must travel at least 10 m into the opposition half. None of the kicking team's players are allowed in front of the player taking the kick until after that player's foot has touched the ball. The kicking side frequently kicks the ball high and for it to go just over 10 m, which is marked by a dashed line across the pitch. This tactic gives their players time to chase the lobbed ball and hope to catch it before the opposition does. Alternatively the kick may be a long kick deep into opposition territory, sacrificing the chance to regain possession for territorial gain. A restart kick that does not cross the 10 m line can be played by the receiving team, but not by the kicking team or a midfield scrum is awarded to the receiving team. A restart kick that crosses the side lines without being touched awards the receiving team either a midfield scrum or a line out on the half way line, receiving team option.
File:Italian kickoff.jpg
Similarly, there is also a 22-m drop-out. This is awarded if the attacking side is responsible for sending the ball into the in-goal area, but instead of their player grounding the ball and scoring a try it is first grounded by a defender. If the ball is kicked into the in-goal area by the attackers and instead of being grounded there by either side it continues, under its own momentum, through the in-goal area and crosses the dead-ball line, then the defenders have the option of choosing either a 22-m drop out or a scrum at the place where the attackers kicked the ball. The 22-m drop out is taken at any point along (or behind) the 22-m line.

Penalty kicks and free kicks Edit

Penalty kicks are awarded for dangerous play, deliberate infringement of the Laws and offsides. A penalty kick may either be used to attempt a penalty goal, kick into touch (either directly or indirectly, in both cases the kicking team throws-in the ball at the ensuing line-out) or tapped with the foot (giving the kicking player possession of the ball). In each case, the opponents must retire to a distance 10m from the point at which the penalty is awarded.

A free kick is awarded for technical infringements that do not warrant a penalty. A free kick differs from a penalty in that it cannot be used for an attempt at goal. If the ball goes into touch, the kicking team does not receive the throw at the ensuing lineout. When kicked directly into touch (i.e. without bouncing) there is no gain in ground from the free kick unless it was taken from behind the kicking team's 22 meter line.

A free kick is also awarded when a player catches an opponent's kick on or behind his own 22m line and shouts the word "mark".

Scrum Edit

File:Rugby union scrummage close up.jpg
Main article: Scrum (rugby)

A scrum [3] is a way of restarting the game safely and fairly after an accidental infringement such as a knock-on (where a player drops the ball forwards) or a forward pass occurs. It's also awarded to the passing or kicking team if the ball hits a referee.

A scrum is formed by the eight forwards from each team binding together in three rows. The front row, consisting of the two props (loosehead and tighthead, usually the largest men on the field) and the hooker, 'prop' the scrum up and 'hook' the ball so it can get back to the scrum half or number 9. The two locks in the second row provide the power to drive the scrum forward, and the two flankers (blindside and openside) and number 8 are loosely bound, so they can support the backs when the ball gets out as fast as possible. Occasionally, all eight forwards will be called upon to drive, usually near the goal-line as the attacking team attempts to drive the opponent's scrum over the goal-line and score what is known as a "pushover try."

The two packs of forwards engage with each other so that their heads are interlocked with those of the other side's front row. The player always aims for the gap to the left (as he sees it) of his opponent. Hence, the prop on the left is called the loosehead because his head is on the outside. In contrast the prop on the right (the tighthead) has his head to the inside of the opposing looshead's. The scrum half from the team that did not infringe stands on his team's loosehead side and throws the ball into the tunnel between the two front rows; the hookers compete for possession by hooking the ball backwards with their feet, while each pack tries to push the opposing pack backwards to gain possession easier. The side that wins possession usually transfers the ball to the back of the scrum, where it is picked up either by the number 8 or by the scrum half. Either the scrum half or the number 8 can pass the ball to the backs or run the ball at the opposing team. Normal play then resumes. A scrum has to be awarded between the 5 m lines along the goal and touch lines: this prevents an easy try and allows safe play. A new rule has been introduced in 2007 regarding rugby union scrums where the referee would now give four commands instead of three. The old command of "crouch, hold, engage" has been replaced by "crouch, touch, pause, and engage". In addition to the engagement sequence, front rows cannot engage with their head and shoulders lower than their hips in a bid to stop collapsed scrums. Another key difference to the current sequence is that the two props have to touch their opposition number's shoulder. The new rule was brought in because of the injuries which the props faced to their necks and spine when they engaged in a scrum, the new rule limiting the distance between the engaging sides and therefore the maximum speed of engagement.

Line-out Edit

Main article: Line-out
File:Lineout-WvF-2004.jpg

When the ball goes into touch (i.e. outside of the area of play) the referee calls a line-out at the point where the ball crossed the touchline. There are two exceptions for this rule. (1) No line-out is awarded closer than 5 m to opponent team goal line, if the ball crosses the touch closer the throw-in occurs on 5 m line (2) If a kick goes directly into touch and the kicker is outside his own 22m line the throw-in occurs where the ball was kicked. The forwards of each team (though not necessarily all of them, their number is throwing-in team option) line up a metre apart, perpendicular to the touchline and between 5m and 15m from the touchline. The ball is thrown from the touchline down the centre of the lines of forwards by a player (usually the hooker) from the team that did not play the ball into touch. The exception to this is when the ball went out from a penalty, in which case the side who gained the penalty throws the ball in. There is an advantage to being the team throwing the ball as that team then knows where along the line the throw is aimed. If the ball passes over the 15m line, it can be played by everyone and the line-out is over: if the ball is not thrown straight down the middle of the line-out, the non-infringing team may choose to have the put-in to either a new line-out or a scrum 15m infield.

Both sides compete for the ball, and some players may lift their teammates. (While the laws say that jumping players may only be supported, lifting is uniformly tolerated under specified conditions). A jumping player cannot be tackled until he stands and only shoulder-to-shoulder contact is allowed: deliberate infringement of this Law is dangerous play, and results in a penalty kick, and frequently a trip to the sin bin. If a penalty kick is awarded during a line-out and the line out is not over, it is taken 15m from the touch line.

Offside at the set-piece Edit

All players not taking part in a scrum or line-out must remain onside, or run the risk of conceding a penalty kick. At a scrum the scrum-half must remain behind the ball at all times, and the remaining backs must remain behind the back foot last player in the scrum. At the line-out, all players not taking part must move 10m from the line, and remain there until the line-out is over. At a restart kick, free kick or penalty, the kickers teammates must remain behind the kicker, and the opposition must usually retreat 10m. The exception is a drop-out, where the receiving team need only be on their own side of the 22m line.

Possible alterations to the laws Edit

Main article: Stellenbosch Laws

Alterations to the laws of rugby union have been trialled by students of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, have undergone additional trials in Scotland and Australia, and are now undergoing further trials in England. However, no changes are expected to be made before 2008. [4]

The Australian Rugby Union has decided that all eight Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) will be adopted in the inaugural Australian Rugby Championship which begins in August.[5]

Among the most important proposed changes are:

  • At the scrum, all backs except for the two scrum-halves must stay at least 5 metres behind the back foot of the scrum (or, if the defending team in a 5-metre scrum, behind the try line).
  • Each team may use as many players in the line-out as it wishes, as long as all fit within the 15-metre line.
  • The opposing hooker need not stay within 5 metres of the touchline, but must otherwise conform to laws where he stands.
  • Defending teams may collapse a maul.
  • If the ball is run or passed behind a team's own 22-metre line, and is then kicked into touch on the full without an intervening tackle, ruck or maul, the ensuing line-out will be conducted at the spot of the kick. (If the same kick goes into touch on the bounce, the line-out will be conducted where the ball went into touch, as in the current laws.)
  • Long-arm penalties (i.e., free kicks, with the possibility of a kick for goal) will now only be assessed for offside and foul play. All other infractions will be short-arm penalties, which cannot be kicked for goal; they will be tap-kicks, with the option of a scrum as allowed in the current laws.
  • Players will be allowed to use their hands in the ruck, as long as they enter in an onside position and are on their feet. (During previous trials of the ELVs, some competitions have allowed use of hands in the ruck, while others have treated it as a short-arm penalty.)


See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


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