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Thursday, September 27, 2012

A quick guide to the new Premiership law changes

The season up north is well under way but some are still unclear on the new law changes being implemented in the Premiership (and elsewhere). Here is a quick video that explains the 4 main changes, which aim to speed up the game and improve player safety.

They are: Concussion Management, extended powers of the TMO, the Scrum Engagement, and the exciting new Ruck law, where teams have 5 seconds to use the ball once it's available.

Premiership Rugby's Rugby Director Phil Winstanley talks us through it, with comments from Harlequins' Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea, and a few of the team captains share their thoughts.

- What are your thoughts on the changes so far? Let us know below

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:15 am | View Comments (23)

Viewing 23 comments

Eggman September 27, 2012 9:42 am

I like the new ruck law.. Should be interesting to see how it works out. I must say I'm a bit surprised that the Premiership introduced such a law before SANZAR did.. Good on em though.

Scrum's a good idea too I think.. I heard lots of people (especially in Australia) complain about the Pause, that it kind of throws the players off a bit and makes the timing more difficult and is generally useless. Should be interesting to see whether it has a positive effect on scrums or not.

Not too happy about the TMO though.. I understand why they'd do it, but I do have some concerns about how fluid the game will be.. And i don't really want rugby to turn into a game where the ref refers everything to the TMO..

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moddeur September 27, 2012 10:17 am

These new laws have been implemented in France too (apart from the TMO one, the Top14 having its very own TMO innovation). So I gather that they will be in Sanzar next season ; this delay certainly has something to do with calendar differences between North and South.
The 5 secs in rucks often leads forwards and scrum-halves to start panicking.

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Dylan September 27, 2012 1:57 pm

They have been applied by SANZAR in the latter half of the season. So they are currently in use for the Currie Cup and ITM cup but were not used during the Super 15.

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joshmacy September 27, 2012 1:52 pm

Laws are being applied at my level of coaching (USA Collegiate) and there are some positive changes. Scrums are moving along quicker is the most noticeable. Forwards are getting up to the line and readying much faster. With the ruck law, it doesn't seem to really come into play until your playing sloooooow ball near the goal line. Anything that helps manage head injuries is a good thing. All in all not bad.

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Andy September 27, 2012 9:58 am

Mr Winstanley: "5 seconds from when 'ruck' is called."
Mr O'Shea: "5 seconds from when the ball is available."
So which is it? Seems refs are applying the latter (and that's good) but never inspires confidence when there's confusion.

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Smiffy_Ref September 28, 2012 7:04 am

As a referee myself the new 5 seconds at rucks law states that when the ruck is formed the referee calls 'ruck' as normal, then when the ball is available at the base the referee calls 'use it' and from that call the attacking team has 5 seconds to do so.
If defending team counter ruck during the 5 seconds, referee should call turnover and then when ball is available again for either team call 'use it' and start a new 5 second count.
Sanction if play is delayed when ball is available is a scrum to opposing team

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JJLM September 27, 2012 10:00 am

The new ruck law is great! Quick play, no stalling. The TMO law is okay but i'd like to see a law where each team has maybe one or two TMO requests per game. The scrum law probably won't change that much concerning collapsing scrums, the hit is only a small part of the problem and reducing it is certainly not the solution.

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Crapflanker September 27, 2012 10:13 am

They trialled the scrum law in our internal university league in Cambridge last year, and Crouch-touch-set made a huge difference. It's a really positive move..

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IrishRef September 27, 2012 10:36 am

sorry but he got it wrong in his analysis of the ruck change.

If the referee feels that the ball is playable at the back of a ruck but the team is not endeavouring to play the ball, he will shout 'USE IT'. From that moment on, you have 5 seconds to play the ball out of the ruck, otherwise scrum to your opponent.

It is NOT five seconds from when the ref may call a ruck.

That's a big, fat, glaring error for the director of premiership rugby to make and I'm surprised it hasn't been redacted yet.

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flanker2712 September 27, 2012 5:12 pm

Thank you IrishRef - very helpful clarification, both on the moment the 5 seconds start counting and the consequence of not playing the ball.

Pardon the ignorance, but I am sure I have for quite a number of years occasionally heard the ref shout "Use it" (often a number of times in the same sequence of play). In what other circumstances does the ref have power to dictate how quickly a player must use the ball? Does the 5 second rule also apply or is that a new one for the ruck?


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Andy J September 27, 2012 7:31 pm

Law 10.2 makes time wasting an offence and did so prior to this season's amendments. So I have often used a call of 'use it' to manage play and encourage players to get on with the spirit of a competitive game.

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Letman September 27, 2012 11:05 am

It's about time they brought in a law about concussion.
The clip a short while ago of Gio Aplon getting knocked cold and then just resuming play was riduclous on the part of everyone involved: himself, the doctor, management and referee.
These things need to be taken seriously.
TMO, I think we will need to wait how it is used and how it works and see over the course of the season before a judgement is made. I don't think it can do any damage.
Ruck call is great. Being a back, we love quick ball!
All round, it's good to see new rules being introduced especially when it comes to player safety and the speed/enjoyment of the game.
Good job all.
RD, keep up the good work!!

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thebfg September 27, 2012 11:14 am

Agree with IrishRef, this is a massive cocok up on the part of the Premiership who should never have let this out!
We refs have enough problems on a Saturday with players saying "i saw it on TV".

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filth September 27, 2012 11:16 am

I like everything except the TMO. The ruck and the scrum changes are great…they encourage more flamboyant play in the game. The TMO is a complete set-back and contradiction. It just slows the game down…that’s why they introduced white-cards. Overall some good decisions…which I’m shocked at. Usually the IRB will introduce a completely over-the-top, soft-cock rule. You have done well…so kudos to you IRB.

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Pretzel September 27, 2012 9:38 pm

White cards were nothing but a cop out "get out of jail free" card for referees....

It gives them the easy option of not having to be the target of any flack which may arise from a correct decision which pisses off players and fans alike, or an incorrect decision which is what humans can make from time to time... so instead they "didn't see it" put it on a white card and effectively "shovel shit" onto the next persons desk...

And in reality what was the white card for anyway? Are we really saying the stuff that was put on a white card was not going to be noticed by the citing commissioner ANYWAY?!?!?? The guy probably has access to every angle under the sun, if he thinks something happened he'll look into it, I doubt a referee standing there with a white card is going to make much of a difference... or is this a budget cut move? "We can't have the citing commissioner sitting there watching the whole match, I know, give the referee a white card and the CC can just look at white card incidents"???

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Ottawa Rugger September 27, 2012 2:37 pm

The Ruck law is great IMO (provided, as some people have added here, that it's when the ball is available at the back of the ruck rather than when it is formed), Concussion prevention is obviously a good thing, and from what I can tell watching the Prem games (new cadence not in place in Canada yet) the 3-call cadence has actually sped up scrums quite a bit.

TMO is, however, a slippery slope. I say that if the TMO is asked about something on-pitch rather than around try or no try, it must be if and only if a referee's discussion with his touch judges is inconclusive. If this caveat were obeyed'd I'd be happy with it

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Battle Dwarf September 27, 2012 6:31 pm

I'm fine with all u said so far.
I see other, maybe hidden, explanations for the few new rules:

5" ruck - Is basically a good way to speed up games in NH so that finally we can wash away that "pedestrian" tag that SH ruggers love to mock up at every pub conversations!
It will also increase some more respect for us scrum halves, as we'll have the burden to make important decisions in smaller frame of time.

TMO: It is definitely a good way to promote rugby on TV. we all love that little suspension during the replays and tossing few exiting comments on it.
I fully embrace it, u can't loose a game for a no try. Let's not even bring in the misery around football when a team lost a crucial game for a penalty givin' to a dramatic diver!
Obviously I don't like sometimes when it drags far too long. so yeah it could be speed up a bit.

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stroudos September 27, 2012 7:04 pm

Hallelujah for the new ruck law!! It was utterly maddening watching England scrumhalves poncing around at the back of the ruck for interminable amounts of time. Although it always seemed a completely self-defeating tactic to me; all it did was allow defences to regroup and have a breather before the next pointless pod drive. Either way I'm absolutely delighted that I won't have to sit through that total bollocks again.

Everyone who's commented on the TMO so far seems unanimously against it, but as long as it's applied sensibly I'm fine with it. Definitely a better option than the useless white card.

The TMO opposition reminds me a bit of the Luddite football pundits and fans who still resist goal-line video technology - a position which surely to any rugby fan just seems totally ridiculous.

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Pretzel September 27, 2012 8:54 pm

Ok, so my 2 cents:

Concussion rule... I find it absolutely ridiculous that this is not implemented immediately in all rugby competitions... I fail to see the need to "test it". Just throw it right in there. I hate seeing players have nasty head knocks, then get up wobble back down and eventually start playing again... If you have a big blow to the head you should be taken off straight away. Hopefully this might reduce the amount of players who either feel like they have to play in order to keep their position for the next game, or have to play through blind focus of the game.

TMO... Not too sure on this one, stills seems very limiting and really just a bit petty as it sounds like they have patched a "technicality".. "TMO can now rule on foul play in the open field....during the act of scoring a try".. so the TMO can now "legally" comment on the blindly obvious infringements...

Scrum... Not so sure about this, I used to play before they brought in the "touch" (I think), or before they brought in something like that, I mean around year 2000. Wasn't it originally, "Crouch Engage" or something like that?!? I can't really remember.. I've tried searching for the evolution of the scrum, but if anyone can fill me in on the calls and how they have progressed, I would appreciated it... Anyway, my point... just seems like ANOTHER thing to figure out in the scrums and seems like we are going BACK to what it used to be, sort of anyway.. So does the "SET" mean engage? :/ Joy for the non native speakers who have just figured out "engage"...

5 second rule... good in one sense, would like to see the way it's implemented though, do players find its just a little too short? I'm all in favour for stopping the time stalling plays where a team that is just winning just holds onto the ball and creates a wall of bodies and runs the clock down, but I don't want to see the game turn into a mad scramble disorganised free for all because they can't get a decent platform to run off.

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the steam train September 28, 2012 2:27 am

I think the discussion is missing one important point around this new ruck law. Rugby is supposed to be a game for all shapes and sizes. A time limit on using the ball from the back of a ruck clearly favours smaller faster forwards. At present there is a tactical choice involved in how quickly you use the ball, you can take more time and organise your attack but the defence gets that same amount of time to reorganise itself. Yet you might not mind if you feel you can win the collisions in close because you have a bigger stronger pack. On the other hand if you feel you have the more mobile pack you can play the ball faster. Both have advantages and disadvantages, why should the laws make a tactical choice for players?

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Alex September 28, 2012 7:00 am

As a referee myself the new 5 seconds at rucks law states that when the ruck is formed the referee calls 'ruck' as normal, then when the ball is available at the base the referee calls 'use it' and from that call the attacking team has 5 seconds to do so.
If defending team counter ruck during the 5 seconds, referee should call turnover and then when ball is available again for either team call 'use it' and start a new 5 second count.
Sanction if play is delayed when ball is available is a scrum to opposing team

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thebfg September 28, 2012 12:08 pm

Alex: Really? i don't think it's for the ref to call "turnover", if there's a counter ruck the "clock doesn't re-set, it's still got 5 secs to be used by the side in the opinion of the ref had it to use, if they don't then it's a scrum to the other side, however if the counter ruck produces another situation where it's available but not being used, as a ref i'd call use it again, but in the 8 matches i've reffed this season we've had one situation where we had a scrum to the other side for "not using it"

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Canadian content September 28, 2012 1:01 pm

Like the concussion rule, long overdue. Though the nfl has one upped them, an independent doctor assesses the player and decides if they continue or not.

Like the ruck rule, though refs could have a bigger influence if they just started calling offensive players for off their feet at the ruck.

Don't mind the tmo rule changing as long as there has not been a breakdown in between the try and infringement.

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