14 May

ELVs become rugby law
by Tracey Nelson
14 May 2009

The IRB has ratified 10 of the 13 global experimental law variations (ELVs) and they will be adopted into the laws of the game after they were unanimously approved by the IRB’s Technical Committee.

All international matches from May 23 onwards will play with the 10 ELVs, while domestic and regional competitions played across the implementation date, such as the Super 14, will be played under the current ELVs until their conclusion.

The IRB has also looked at the rulings surrounding the breakdown areas of tackles and rucks. What the IRB are proposing is that the tackler or first player to the breakdown will be entitled to keep playing the ball with their hands even after a ruck has formed as long as they remain on their feet. Paddy O’Brien, IRB head of referees, stated this morning on Radio Sport that the ruling, approved by the IRB council, “may make a difference to the dynamics of the tackle”.

The ruling will be used in the upcoming international season in June this year, although O’Brien said “Until we see it in operation, we won’t know exactly how it is going to work out. But I’m confident it will certainly assist refereeing and the players,” he told Radio Sport. He was also quick to point out that it is not a law change, just a change in intepretation of the existing law.

The following ELVs will be passed into law:

Law 6 – Assistant referees allowed to assist referee in any matter he requires
Law 19 – Kicking directly into touch from ball played back into 22 equals no gain in ground
Law 19 – Quick throw permitted in any direction except forward
Law 19 – Pre-gripping of line-out jumpers allowed
Law 19 – Lifting in the line-out allowed
Law 19 – Positioning of player in opposition to the player throwing-in to be two metres away from line-out and the line of touch
Law 19 – Positioning of receiver must be two metres away from line-out
Law 20 – Five-metre offside line behind the hindmost feet of the scrum
Law 20 – Halfback offside line at the scrum
Law 22 – Corner posts no longer touch in goal except when the ball is grounded against the post

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