Plans to reduce rugby's laws 50%

Cape Town - World Rugby has reportedly commissioned a technical group to overhaul its law book, which could see half of the game's laws abolished.

In an attempt to simplify the laws and make rugby easier to understand, the technical group will head up the ‘Laws Simplification Project’ which is set to be completed by late 2018.

This follows a number of controversial refereeing decisions in the recent Test series between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions, which prompted New Zealand coach Steve Hansen to call for simpler laws and the correct interpretation.

According to the website, New Zealand Rugby has nominated its high-performance referee manager, Rod Hill, to help run the project, while two representatives from South Africa, one from England and three from World Rugby complete the technical group.

The first meeting was in Edinburgh in February last year. After that, the group paired off, taking seven laws between them, before reporting back and peer-reviewing at the second meeting in San Francisco last July. There was then a conference call meeting in September to finalise things.

"We've reduced the number of words in the law book by 50 percent," Hill said.

"What's happened over a period of time, is that, as there's been some changes, they've just been added to the law book and it's a bit piecemeal. So you had exceptions here and there.

"So this project was about 'let's start from scratch and make sure it all reads well', to reshape the law book to get that as an outcome."

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