Trial has been sanctioned to see if the game can be made faster and increase ball in play time

The clock may be ticking for some rugby laws as an innovative set of law variations is to be trialled in Queensland, with the aim of making the game faster and increase ball-in-play time. World Rugby have given the trial their ‘okay’.

The time it takes for the ball to come out of rucks and set-piece, as well as restarts, conversions and penalties will be sped up. Also in the menu of changes will be losing the yellow card for deliberate knock-downs, while squint lineouts will only be penalised in the ‘Challenger Series’ if  the opposition try to contest for the ball.

The Challenger Series pits a Queensland President’s XV against a Reds Development outfit. They will play two games ahead of the Reds’ tour of Japan (they face Panasonic Wild Knights and Kubota Spears). The date to circle on the calendar will be October 9, when these variations are tried out.

See below for all the tweaks…

Challenger Series law variations

Time compliance

  • Five-second ruck (strict compliance from use it call)
  • 30-second scrum call from when mark is set
  • Penalty kicks (60-seconds)/conversions (90-seconds)
  • Lineouts 30-seconds from when mark is set
  •  30-seconds to restart after conversion

* Infringement against non-compliant team will result in a tap only option
Eg. No scrum option

Set Piece

  • Scrum:
    • 1st collapse – re-set if no clear sanction
    •  2nd collapse – if no clear sanction, free kick to feeding team (tap only)
    •  Defending scrum-half can’t go beyond mid-line of scrum (tap only)
  • Lineout:
    • Only contested throws to lineout can be adjudicated as not straight
    • Only players within the lineout formation can join a maul formed at a lineout (penalty kick)

Tackle area

  • Focus on tackler not rolling, must make effort to roll immediately towards sideline


  • Deliberate knock down
    • To be refereed as either a ‘deliberate attempt to catch’, or a ‘deliberate attempt to knock down’ which will result in a penalty kick only
  • Advantage Law – three phases and then advantage over (territorial and tactical advantage consideration remains at referees’ discretion)

Let us know what you think of these via or on our social channels. 

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.