Ahead of September’s Rugby World Cup, the governing body, World Rugby announced that current laws will be more strictly enforced by referee, assistant referees and television match officials.
The World Rugby Laws Representation Group (LRG) met in April and agreed on the implementation of certain rules, such as in-the-air contact – which has developed into a highly contentious issue in recent months – truck-and-trailer at mauls and feeding in the scrums.
The group decided that from now on, any player making a high or so-called choke tackle around the neck can be at risk of being sin-binned or sent off. It also said that dangerous clean-outs around the neck at rucks and mauls must be penalised.
The main enforcement changes are as follows:
High Tackles and Neck contact – Law 10.4(e)
- Every time the head or the neck is deliberately grabbed or choked, the offending player runs the risk of receiving a yellow or red card
- Cleanouts around the neck must be penalised
Challenging players in the air – Law 10.4(i)
- Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on
- Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing – No pulling down
- Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side
- Red card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player lands on his head, neck or shoulder
Scrum feed – Law 20.6(d)
- Ensure that all scrum feeds are credible
- FK if clearly not straight
- Look for shoulders not being parallel
- Manage the situation
Chairman of the LRG John Jeffrey said: “The eyes of the rugby-loving world will be on the Rugby World Cup later this year and, as always, there will be plenty of attention paid to the decisions of the match officials. The LRG has sought to clarify to players, coaches, media and spectators exactly what they can expect from referees in these key areas during the tournament.
“It was felt that law changes were not necessary in these areas but that referees needed to apply the current law more effectively in some cases.”
The full list of amended laws and video examples can be found by visiting the World Rugby website here