Community Rugby in England - Law Variations 2020-21.
issued: December 2020
The RFU is working with Government for the return of the community game in England.
Why have changes been made?
The return comes after extensive research & consultations with HM Government into mitigating the risks of face to face contact*. By using law variations, this will limit the risk of prolonged face to face contact, which will allow the Community Game to commence.
*Team Sports Risk Exposure Framework
What will change?
The variations proposed affect four laws:
- Law 16 - Maul
- Law 18 - Lineout
- Law 19 - Scrum
- Law 20 - Penalty & Free Kick
16.1 - Principle
IT WILL BE ILLEGAL FOR A MAUL TO TAKE PLACE
A player coming into contact with an opponent carrying the ball must bring that player to ground (Law 14 Tackle)
Sanction: Penalty to the side in possession of the ball
The ball carrier must them play the ball immediately (as per Law 14.7)
18.11 - Forming a Lineout
‘A minimum of five players and maximum number of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout.’
18.14 - Forming a Lineout
‘The non throwing team must match the number of players in the lineout with the throwing team.’
The team winning the ball in the lineout will either pass immediately or release the ball to a teammate as soon as they land on the ground, no maul shall be formed.
Clarification There will be no sanction if the requirements above are not met. The lineout will be reset with the variations adhered to.
NO SCRUMS WILL TAKE PLACE
19.1 - Principle
Where the game would restart play with a scrum, this is replaced with a Free Kick in all circumstances.
NB: When a ‘scrum’ offence occurs after the expiry of half or full
time, that offence will end that period of the game. No Free Kick will be awarded.
Clarification - These free kicks are designed as a method of restarting the game and will not be escalated in sanction. The tempo of the free kicks will be determined by the Match Officials and are not to be taken quickly.
PENALTY & FREE KICK
Law 20.3 - Options At A Penalty Or Free kick
A team awarded a Penalty or Free Kick may not choose a scrum.
Law 20.4 - Options At A Penalty Or Free kick
A team awarded a Penalty or Free kick at a lineout may instead choose another lineout at the same mark.
Law 20.11 - Taking A Penalty Or Free kick
‘Taking a Penalty or Free Kick. The ball must be kicked a visible distance. If the kicker is holding it, it must clearly leave the hands. If it is on the ground, it must clearly leave the mark. Once the free kick has been successfully taken, the kicker may not play the ball again unless the penalty or free kick has been awarded on either of the five metre lines.’
A player who taps the ball must then make a pass to another player or kick the ball, unless the mark for the free kick is on the 5m line (infringement occurs between 5m and goal line). If this is the case, the player who taps the ball may play the ball themselves.
LAW 16 | MAUL GUIDANCE
The formation of a Maul will be illegal under these law variations.
Match Officials will be actively looking for tacklers to bring ball carriers to ground, and complete the tackle. If the tacklers attempt to keep the ball carrier off the floor and upright, this be sanctionable with a penalty.
If the Match Official observes a potential maul forming due to an incomplete tackle, but through no fault of the defending side, the Match Official must call “use it”.
The ball must then be played immediately by the team in possession side. Should the ball not be used, play will be restarted with a free kick restart to the side in possession (under safety grounds).
LAW 18 | LINEOUT – JUMPER TO GROUND
- Lifters bring jumper to ground
- No maul set up
- Attacking team use ball immediately
- Non-participants don’t encroach until the lineout is over
LAW 19 | SCRUM EXAMPLES
- ‘Scrum’ infringement occurs, can we play advantage?
- The advantage should be short, a few passes or phases
- Should there be no advantage, the free kick mark is at the point of infringement
- The restart is not designed to be taken quickly
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