Rugby Football League to ditch controversial ball-steal rule after just one season
Super League laws were amended at the start of the season to allow a player to steal the ball from an opponent if his team-mates drop off the tackle in time; the rule was copied from the NRL but created confusion and difficulties for referees
By PA Media
Last Updated: 10/06/21 9:15am
The Rugby Football League is set to ditch the controversial ball-steal rule after just one season.
The laws were amended at the start of the season to allow a player to steal the ball from an opponent if his team-mates drop off the tackle in time.
The rule, copied from the NRL, created confusion and all sorts of difficulties for referees in deciding whether players had fallen off the tackle before the ball steal.
Now the governing body's laws committee will seek RFL board approval to remove the rule from the start of the 2022 season.
A spokesman said: "Members were unanimous in their view that the law be rolled back to its 2021 interpretation and that the RFL should lobby the International Rugby League for the law's removal from the international game from 2022."
The committee also considered bringing back scrums to the domestic game but decided it was still too early and agreed to look at the issue again in a month's time.
Scrums were removed from matches when the Super League season resumed last August in a bid to cut down on the number of close contacts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scrums remain in the international laws and will be used in the end-of-season World Cup.
Included on the 12-strong laws committee are leading referee Robert Hicks, Wakefield coach Chris Chester, RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson and former Great Britain internationals Paul Sculthorpe and Kris Radlinski.