World Rugby: New rules to be tested in Queensland series in a bid to increase ball-in-play time

World Rugby: New rules to be tested in Queensland series in a bid to increase ball-in-play time

World Rugby will monitor the impact of new rules being tested at two Queensland Reds games with the aim of increasing ball-in-play time and reducing over-officiating in rugby union.

The games will be between the Queensland President’s XV and a Queensland Reds developmental squad on October 9 and 15 that will be overseen by referees Nic Berry and Damon Murphy.

Super Rugby officials, who are concerned with the amount of time spent with the ball out of play, made the changes.

Time limits on using the ball at the ruck, setting up for the scrum, taking penalties, restarts, and conversions are among the changes. Furthermore, non-straight throws will be blown only if the opposing team competes, with only three phases for advantage and no yellow cards for deliberate knockdowns.

The two games, according to Reds football boss and ex-Wallaby Sam Cordingley, are seen as a possible opportunity to test the new rules.

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“We saw this series as an opportunity to pick the best out of [the proposed rule alterations] that wouldn’t require fundamental changes to the game and allow the referee some scope for interpretation,” Cordingley told AAP.

“World Rugby will be analysing the games to see how potentially they can be brought in.

“There’s a fabric of the game you want to sustain.

“We are challenged in Australia in terms of popularity [with other codes] but they’re still selling out stadiums [around the world].

“There are minor tweaks we can make and it’s just common sense.”

Cordingley believes the new rules will reward fitter teams and underlined speeding up the game as a key focal point.

“The game is about fatigue and teams that are fitter and can play an 80-minute contest should be rewarded,” he said.

“What’s the argument? Wait until everyone’s fresh, then set the scrum? That’s nonsense, we have to speed this game up.”

Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos backed the calls for less involvement of the television match officials and claimed the referee on the field should coordinate the action.

“[The] shape of the game, it is a concern for us,” Marinos said.

“We’ve got to the point where we’re having the game managed by third parties as opposed to the people in the middle, who should be co-ordinating what takes place.”

List of rules to be trialled:

– There are only five seconds to use the ball from the rucks after the referee called ‘use it’.
– 30 seconds to set the scrum.
– 60 second to complete a penalty, 90 seconds for conversions and 30 seconds to restart once the conversion is complete.

The following will result in a tap only:

– If there is no clear infringement at scrum time, the team with the feed receives a tap after two resets.
– Scrum-halves cannot go past the tunnel of the scrum.
– A throw to the lineout will only be called not straight if there is it contested in the air.
– Only players within the lineout can join a maul.
– Emphasis on tackler rolling away.
– Deliberate knock downs will be seen as a ‘deliberate attempt to catch’ or a ‘deliberate attempt to knockdown’ in which case it would be a penalty.
– Only three phases of advantage with territorial and tactical at the discretion of the referee

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