RFU confirm new scrum laws
The RFU has confirmed a rule change for the new Guinness Premiership season to avoid any controversy over uncontested scrums.
Last Updated: 27/08/09 2:19pm
The Rugby Football Union has confirmed a rule change for the new Guinness Premiership season to avoid any controversy over uncontested scrums.
A revision of the International Rugby Board Law 3, which has been adopted in the French Top 14 competition, will also be put in place in the Premiership and at other levels of the game to varying degrees.
Under the new rules teams will names 23 players in each Guinness Premiership match day squad, with at least six players being players fit and able to play at hooker, tight head prop and loose head prop. In practice this means each bench must now contain a minimum of one tight head prop, one loose head prop and one hooker.
The "Man Off" rule will also be adopted, meaning that a team who does not have enough cover to form the scrum being penalised by having another player removed from their side.
This is to prevent some dubious scenes of uncontested scrums after one team had been dominated in the scrum during the game.
Premier Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said: "This has been an area of controversy for some time and we are pleased that changes will now be made for the forthcoming Guinness Premiership season.
"Premier Rugby has been working hard for this change with the support of the RFU and we welcome the new regulations. We would like to see them extended to European competition and the Anglo-Welsh Cup and are in discussions about this."
PRL Director of Rugby and former Sale Sharks prop Phil Winstanley has been at the head of the calls for a change in the rules, and was happy to see if come through.
"The trials of this regulation in France proved successful in dramatically reducing the number of incidents of uncontested scrums and we are confident that the mandated increase in front row players on the bench will see the same reductions in the Guinness Premiership," he said.
RFU Director of Tournaments and Competitions Terry Burwell added: "The issue of uncontested scrums has been of concern for some time and we are fully supportive of increasing the number of front row replacements in the Guinness Premiership.
"We are also working with the other Unions involved in the European, Anglo-Welsh and British & Irish Cup tournaments to deliver consistency across all competitions as this is in best interests of all stakeholders, not least the players."
For leagues below the Guinness Premiership, they will still have the same number of replacements, but the "Man Off" rule will still apply.
Burwell added: "At league level below the Guinness Premiership we have decided to keep the number of replacements the same as we need to ensure that clubs have enough front row players to fulfill their fixtures.
"At cup level, when it's a one-off game, we feel that increasing replacement front row players is manageable for clubs and will reduce uncontested scrums in such important matches."