Six Nations Rugby and World Rugby are working together on a player welfare driven closed law trial, to feature in each 2022 Six Nations Championship
The law trial is driven by the collective commitment to ensure player welfare is paramount across the sport. Scrum stability and in particular the hooker ‘brake foot’ is the focus of the trial. Both hookers will be required to ensure one foot, the ‘brake foot’, is extended towards the opposition during the crouch and bind phases of the engagement sequence, with a resulting free-kick if the “brake foot” is not applied
Having consulted with the International Players Association, leading players, including international hookers, scrum coaches and match officials, World Rugby will work with Six Nations Rugby to introduce this trial for its first execution in a competitive match environment.
Both Six Nations Rugby and World Rugby are looking to understand whether this minor adjustment can have a positive impact on the number of scrum collapses and resets and potentially welfare outcomes, by aiding hooker stability.
“The game is constantly evolving, and the interests of player welfare are at the centre of decision making, when considering the laws of the game. As Six Nations Rugby we feel such trials are essential in providing informed feedback which will hopefully take the game forward. As such, to collaborate with World Rugby and introduce this law trial during each Six Nations Championship this year, is a great opportunity for both parties to work together for the good of the game.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said:
“We want rugby to be the best it can be for those playing and watching the game and this trial will enable us to understand whether we can positively impact both game and welfare outcomes during the three Six Nations Championships.
“This builds on voluntary adoption by teams and greater vigilance by match officials in recent elite competitions and we would like to thank Six Nations Rugby and all the participating teams for embracing the trial and we look forward to seeing the results.”
“The law trial is designed to ensure that the packs hold their own weight on the bind phase, retaining a small gap between the front rows, and do not begin applying pressure until they engage,” the paper reports.
“It will be mandatory for hookers in the men’s, women’s and under-20 Six Nations to keep one foot forward during the bind phase of the scrum engagement sequence, acting as a brake.”
A free kick will be awarded for a hooker not using a brake foot.