The game's governing body are tackling water carriers and set-pieces
Rugby fans should be able to enjoy a faster game if plans to speed up the Six Nations take hold, with new directives from World Rugby aimed at curbing time-wasting.
The sport’s governing body have reminded players and match officials about some of the game’s existing laws that they wish to see more strictly adhered to. For example, kickers only have 90 seconds from when a try is scored to attempt a conversion. Expect Six Nations referees to be hot on this from the start of the tournament.
Read more: Six Nations fixtures
The same applies to those taking a penalty shot at goal, with only 60 seconds permitted from the time a side points to the posts. In both instances, The kick is disallowed if the allotted time elapses.
Mathieu Raynal controversially penalised Bernard Foley for time-wasting in last year’s Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and New Zealand, and there will be a renewed emphasis on the law that sees a free-kick awarded for time-wasting.
You will often see forward packs huddle together before a lineout to sort out their calls, but it could be a thing of the past. To try and cut out stoppages in the game, World Rugby has given players and officials a reminder about law 18.12 which states teams should form the lineout without delay or huddles.
Similarly, there is a clampdown at another set-piece, with teams required to be ready to form a scrum 30 seconds after the mark has been made by the referee. Current estimates suggest the time taken now is closer to 50 seconds.
Referees have been told by World Rugby to make faster decisions and limit the number of replays needed when using the assistance of the TMO. The current protocol dictates that clear and obvious offences are dealt with on-field, a point that has been reiterated.
World Rugby said the global law trial which limited water carriers to two and reduced the number of times they could enter the field has been successful in reducing unnecessary stoppages.
However, water carriers will now be allowed to bring water on after a try is scored and only in try-less games should a stoppage be used. This prevents the situation where mandatory water breaks were slowing down the game with many suggesting there are plenty of natural pauses in the game for water to be distributed.
Last weekend, Premiership Rugby introduced trial shot clocks in games to try and help speed things up.
In December, when announcing the new law application, World Rugby’s director of rugby, Phil Davies said: “World Rugby, member unions and competitions will work with broadcasters and match hosts to implement on-screen (stadia and broadcast) shot clocks for penalties and conversions to ensure referees, players and fans can view the countdown.”
Do you think these reminders will help speed up the Six Nations? Let us know what you think on social media or by emailing email@example.com
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