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50:22 law variation explained as only Wayne Barnes could

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Wednesday Sep 22, 2021

One of the newest law variations introduced into the game this year has been the 50:22 kicking law, which has proven effective, if perhaps a little complicated initially.

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The concept is fairly straightforward: a team which kicks and bounces the ball out from anywhere within their own 50 metres (i.e. the halfway line) to the opposition’s 22, will get the attacking line-out instead of it being a defensive set-piece.

It is a popular change in the way teams form attacks, particularly in club rugby where defences are not as sophisticated as attacks, leaving more sides far better try-scoring opportunities.

Professional referee Wayne Barnes took the time to give a full explanation into the new law variation, how it works and certain things for fans to watch out for. And for those who regularly follow Barnes’ YouTube channel, it is done in his own imitable way.

Barnes discusses the rationale for the law variation to be implemented in the first place, notably due to the fact that defences are becoming increasingly sophisticated, particularly at the elite level where 14-men defences are commonplace.

This makes it increasingly difficult for attacks to penetrate and get over the gain line, meaning that kicking into space and using territory is the go-to practice.

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We recently saw the first ever Test rugby 50:22, when Australia’s Nic White pegged back the Springboks during their first of two famous wins over the world champions.

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