World Rugby adds six amended laws to approved global trials

The USA Rugby – Rugby Committee has approved adding World Rugby’s six law amendments to the global law trials following positive results in specific international competitions this year.

The amendments at the scrum and tackle/ruck are aimed at simplifying the game to play and officiate. The six changes will now join the scheduled global law trial program. It will commence from Aug. 1, 2017, in the U.S. for all XVs rugby.

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SEVENS: The amendments will NOT be applied in the U.S. summer sevens season concluding with the USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship Aug. 12-13, 2017, in Minneapolis. It will be implemented in sevens Aug. 15 after the national tournament is completed.


15.4 (c) Tackler

This section to be amended so that the tackler may only play the ball from his or her own side of the ball (after getting to feet).
This means the tackler will need to do the same dance around to the correct side that the tackler assist has been doing all along.

16 Ruck


A ruck is formed when one player is on feet over the ball, creating offside lines.

A player on feet may play the ball with hands as long as it is immediate and no opposing player has arrived.

16.4 Other Ruck Offenses

A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion. Sanction: Penalty Kick

20 Scrum

There are several modifications:

  • 20.5 Throwing in: The scrum half will not get a signal from the referee to throw-in
  • 20.6 (d) The scrum half position: The scrum half may align the left shoulder with the middle line of the scrum. The stated reason is to reduce pressure on the striking hooker.
  • 20.8 (b) Once the ball has been thrown-in, any player in the front row may strike for the ball, and one player from the team that throws in must strike for the ball. Sanction: Free Kick.
  • 20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum (Exception) Allow player in the # 8 position to pick the ball up from the feet of the 2nd rows.

A presentation explaining the Law Trials has been prepared by USA Rugby and can be found in PDF, Powerpoint, video clips, and a webinar recording USA Rugby hosted that will help give more explanation and description in depth:

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If you would like to have a referee stop by your team’s practice to answer questions and explain new laws, please contact your local referee organization.