A Breakdown Of The New Rugby Laws That Came Into Effect On January 1st


World Rugby’s latest set of new laws officially came into effect as of yesterday.

The news laws however will not come into play in the northern hemisphere until the 1st of August but came into effect yesterday in the southern hemisphere. The number one goal is apparently to speed up the game overall.

The first time we will seem them in effect with a northern team will be next summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.


A number of law’s have been brought in, but we cut it down to what’s important, and what you need to know going forward.

New Rugby Laws

Law 3 Number of Players

Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Reasoning: To discourage teams from going to uncontested scrums.

Law 5 Time

If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead. We caught a glimpse of this in Connacht’s game with Wasps last month thanks to John Muldoon, even thought we weren’t supposed to.

Reasoning: To discourage teams from infringing in the dying moments of the game.

Law 8 Advantage

When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.

Reasoning: To discourage repeat offending when advantage is already being played and to reward teams against whom repeat offending has taken place.

Law 9 Method of Scoring

Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted. Value: 7 points

Reasoning: To discourage teams from illegally preventing a probable try from being scored while also saving time on the clock by negating the need for a conversion.

Law 19 Touch and Lineout

A player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball.

Reasoning: This brings into law something that is already applied in practice. It means that a player “juggling” the ball does not have to be in contact with it at the exact moment of touching the touchline or the ground beyond it for the ball to be deemed to be in touch. This makes it easier for the match officials to adjudicate.

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