The New Law Changes That Will Be Present In The Six Nations For The First Time

Sorry Italy.

This year’s Six Nations will be the first since the World Rugby Executive Committee approved the addition of six law amendments to the programme of global law trials.

The amendments, which have been tried in specific international competitions this year, relate to the scrum and tackle/ruck. They are aimed at making the game simpler to play and referee, as well as further protecting player welfare.

The most notable change in relation to the Six Nations, is the new ruck laws. Italy caused controversy during last year’s competition against England due to a “loophole” that they discovered, but this has now been closed.

Throwing the ball into the scrum 

No signal from referee. The scrumhalf must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.

Reason: To promote scrum stability, a fair contest for possession while also giving the advantage to the team throwing in.

Handling in the scrum – exception 

The number eight shall be allowed to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.

Reason: To promote continuity.

Striking after the throw-in 

Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.

Reason: To promote a fair contest for possession.

Sanction: Free-kick

Law 15.4 

The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.

Reason: To make the tackle/ruck simpler for players and referees and more consistent with the rest of that law.


A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.

Reason: To make the ruck simpler for players and referees.

Other ruck offences 

A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.

Reason: To promote player welfare and to make it consistent with scrum law.

Sanction: Penalty

Will the new law changes have a dramatic effect on this year’s competition? Sound off in the comments

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