World Rugby continues to reform the Laws of the Game to make the game more spectacular and safer for players.
As of July 1 of this year, the tentative changes that the entire rugby world will see in the 2021-22 season have become law. The most famous of these was the 50:22 rule, but there were other changes as well.
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The first major change concerned the way hookers operate in scrums. Now the second numbers of the teams must put their foot forward when setting up a fight. Specifically for this, the term “foot brake” was added to the “Definitions” section of the rules.
This rule has already been used in several youth tournaments and has proved useful, so now it’s time to test it, as they say, with the whole world.
The matter is quite simple. During the fight, an enormous load falls on the shoulders of the player, for which the players are not prepared because of the not always stable entry into the fight. As a result, there is a serious risk of neck injuries. Now the hooker is obliged to extend his foot to get a more stable position and always be ready to enter the fight.
Technically, this rule works as follows. The referee of the fight may not give the command “contact” (set) if the braking foot is not set. For the hooker, the command “Set” is nothing more than a signal that the leg can be removed.
If the hooker stubbornly refuses to extend the braking foot, the referee gives an indirect free kick.
Rule by Rassi Erasmus
Another tentative change, which in all likelihood will soon become law, is the so-called “Rassi Erasmus rule.” Many still remember the tour of the British and Irish Lions, where the coaching staff of the South African national team, led by Rassi Erasmus, allowed themselves a free interpretation of Rule 6 “Match Officials”. And they ran onto the pitch at a convenient time for them, under the guise of water carriers, to give the necessary instructions to the players. That is no longer possible.
From now on, if a player needs to quench his thirst, he can leave the pitch and get water in his technical area or behind the dead ball line.
As for the actions of the medics, the game can now be supervised by a maximum of two specialists, one on each side of the field. The medics can also bring water, but only to the player who is being treated.
In case of violations of the above rules, the offending team will receive a penalty kick at the spot where play would have resumed.
In addition to the tentative rule changes described above, some items in the Laws of the Game have also been slightly changed.
For example, the opposing team is allowed to run in for a try if the kicker moves in any direction to take the kick. Previously, running in was only possible if the batter moved directly toward the ball.
Ball carriers are now prohibited by law from avoiding a tackle by jumping on or over the tackler. In the past, some players used this loophole to force their opponents to tackle the player in the air if something happened. From now on, this is officially forbidden.
While in the past it was forbidden to pounce on the ball when it came out of the ruck, now it is impossible to block the way to the playing ball with your body, even if the ball is near (i.e. within a radius of one metre) the ruck.
The wording of individual rules of the maul has also been added. For example, a player who snatches the ball from the hands of a player in possession of the ball must remain in contact with that player until the ball is passed. And during a maul, the player in possession of the ball may not “slide” or move backwards in the maul.
If the attacking team has carried the ball into the goal, the defending players may “dead” the ball in any way they wish, and then have the right to a kick from the goal line. Previously, the defending team had this right only if the ball was held.
As you can see, there are no particularly radical changes to the rules of the game compared to the 50:22 rule or the replacement of the kick from 22 metres with a kick from the goal line. However, teams will need some time to get used to these rules.
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