World Rugby makes 5 new laws permanent

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Bill Beaumont, chairperson of World Rugby. (Photo by Dave Rogers - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
Bill Beaumont, chairperson of World Rugby. (Photo by Dave Rogers - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
  • Five new law trials will be made permanent by World Rugby from July.
  • The governing body says the laws have "positively enhanced both safety and spectacle" of the game.
  • Chairperson Bill Beaumont says it's their mission to "ensure that the laws are the best".

World Rugby has announced that five law trials that have been in effect for the past year will be made permanent from 1 July.

The global governing body said in a statement on Thursday that the laws were approved "with welfare advancement in mind".

This means the upcoming women's and men's Rugby World Cups will feature the new law trials, including 50:22 and the goal-line dropout.

World Rugby said all five trials were deemed to have "positively enhanced both safety and spectacle" and were unanimously approved by its council.

The laws are:

- 50:22

- Goal-line Drop Out

- Pre-Bound Pods of Players (or "Flying Wedge")

- Sanctioning of lower-limb clearout

- Latching 

Meanwhile, World Rugby added that the "scrum brake foot" - which was trialled in the Six Nations - will move from a closed to global trial, meaning it will also feature at the men's and women's Rugby World Cups in 2022 and 2023.

According to this law, both hookers are required to ensure one foot is extended towards the opposition during the crouch and bind phases of the scrum engagement sequence.

"Rugby's laws are fundamental to its accessibility, appeal and safety. It is our mission to ensure that the laws are the best that they can be for everyone playing the game and the approval of these laws following detailed evaluation and widespread consultation, underscores that commitment," World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont said.

"I would like to thank every player, coach and medic at every level for participating and providing feedback on this trial - your views are important to us and we will continue to consult with you as we work together to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare."

Furthermore, World Rugby's council also approved minor amendments to the laws to accommodate the rulings on law clarifications raised by member unions since 2020, adding clarity to the respective areas of law. 

A statement read: "Approval of the new laws builds on the package of Game On Community Law Variations providing national unions with the ability to implement modified laws at a domestic mass participation level. Allowing each union to further game experience and safety for participants by meeting the specific needs of the game in their nation. Unions can pick and choose from dependent on their context and purpose.

"World Rugby, fully supported by member unions, competitions and players, will continue to evaluate the impact of the new laws against the central objective of supporting positive welfare outcomes, including head injury prevention, as the only sport that gathers and publishes game-wide injury data. 

"Following representation from member unions and player groups, there will be a renewed focus on side entry by both attacking and defending players at the breakdown. This reinforces player protection and safety and ensures a fair contest for the ball in this dynamic area of the game. This will come in the form of a Law Application Guideline to be confirmed at the international match officials camp to be held ahead of the July international fixtures."

World Rugby's chief player welfare and rugby services officer Mark Harrington added: "Law evaluation is an important facet of our holistic approach to reducing the risk of injury in the sport and we continually monitor, review and evolve the laws of the game with the ambition of making rugby as simple and safe as possible.

"The majority of these trials were born from the 2018 Player Welfare and Laws Symposium and reflect the sport’s united and unwavering intent when it comes to protecting players at all levels. Each new law has been developed with the input of experts and reflect an evidence-based approach to reducing higher-risk behaviours by changing the nature of the contact area of the game or reducing overall contact in a game situation.

"We never stand still when it comes to welfare and in addition to this important work, we are near completion of a ground-breaking study into the frequency and nature of head impacts in community and elite rugby in partnership with the University of Otago and University of Ulster, undertaking further women-specific research and validation of the contact training guidance published last year. All of these priority strands will inform the decisions we make to advance welfare for players at all levels of the game."

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