With the increased pace at which the modern game is played and the physical conditioning of the modern school boy, there are a couple interesting rule changes in the offing that may have a large impact on the way the game is played.
Of particular concern for the law makers is the tackle area which has gone through numerous rule changes to make the game safer over the last 2 decades.
With the bone jarring nature of hulking physical specimens crashing into each other its no surprise that the tackle area is responsible for whopping 50 per cent of all match injuries.
Breaking the stats down further, 76 per cent of all concussions occur at the tackle point with 72 per cent of those seeing the tackler come off second best.
With the rule changes designed to try and facilitate a more free flowing spectacle the amount of time that the ball stays in play has also increased. Since the Rugby World Cup of 1987 the approximate time that the ball stays in play has increased by 50 percent to the 40 minutes of today.
This has given rise to a 252 per cent increase in tackles over the same period, which is why the games administrators are so focused on this facet of the game.
The approved package of six law amendments for trial are:
50:22 kick: If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22 or from inside their own 22 into their opponents’ half, they will throw in to the resultant lineout
Rationale: To create space by forcing players to drop back out of the defensive line in order to prevent their opponents from kicking for touch. Approved for closed trial in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) in Australia
The High Tackle Technique Warning This has been successfully trialled at the World Rugby U20 Championship for the last two years reducing the incidence of concussion by more than 50 per cent
Rationale: Head Injury prevention strategy. Approved for further closed trials
Reducing the tackle height to the waist. Rationale: Forcing players to tackle lower may reduce the risk of head injuries to both the tackler and tackled player. Approved for closed trials
Ability to review a yellow card when a player is in the sin-bin for dangerous foul play: Rationale: To ensure players who are guilty of serious foul play do not escape with a yellow card when they deserved red. Approved for closed trials
The introduction of an infringement (penalty and free-kick) limit for teams. Once a team has reached the limit, a mandatory yellow card is given to the last offending player as a team sanction. Rationale: To encourage teams to offend less. Approved for closed trial in the National Rugby Championship in Australia
The awarding of a goal-line drop-out to the defending team when an attacking player, who brings the ball into in-goal, is held up. Rationale: To reward good defence and promote a faster rate of play. Approved for closed trial in the National Rugby Championship in Australia
It remains to be seen how many of the laws will make it through to full blown adoption but the changes certainly seem to be a step in the right direction trying to make the game safer. Tell us what you think in the comments below.