Super Rugby AU and Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa look to speed up game
New Super Rugby law variations announced
Golden tries, goal-line drop-outs and captain’s referrals: some law innovations are coming into Super Rugby that are “designed to speed up play and increase ball-in-play time and improve the spectacle for the fans,” according to organisers.
Some law variations were brought in for Super Rugby 2020 in Australia and New Zealand (an explainer table from SANZAAR has been included below) and will be retained, but several new variations are also being introduced by each competition.
Fans of sevens and the recent World Tens Series may recognise some of these law variations.
Here are the details for each of the tweaks in Super Rugby AU and Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Super Rugby AU 2021 will have kick-off and restart variations seen in sevens. For the new season, a free kick will be awarded following any infringement off the kick-off and restart. This includes an enforced 30 second time limit for restarts to happen following a conversion, penalty or drop-goal as well as restarts that are kicked out on the full or if team-mates of the kicker are not behind the ball. The team that was set to receive the ball will get a tap from halfway. This law has been introduced to quicken up general play and reduce the number of scrums.
In addition, the golden point law variation introduced last year has been tweaked. A drawn match now to be decided by ‘golden try’ in extra time. The first try scored in the ten-minute extra time (two x five-minute halves) will win the match. If a penalty or drop-goal is successful within this extra time the points count towards the match score, but the game will continue until either a try is scored, or the ten-minute period expires. This update is to encourage attacking play in the extra time period.
The Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament will see the introduction of a goal-line drop out for balls enforced in goal. When an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on, play restarts with a goal-line drop out. When a kick enters the in-goal area and is forced by the defending team, play also restarts with a goal-line drop out. The tournament will again include extra-time if the scores are level – but unlike in Australia, if a match is drawn at full-time a single ten-minute period will be played with the first points scored ensuring the win.
Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa is also introducing a captain’s referral. Each team will be given one referral which can be activated in one of three scenarios: any decision in the last five minutes of the game, an infringement in the build-up to a try or foul play.
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