The International Rugby Board council is expected to approve only some of the experimental law variations for a worldwide trial, starting in August, when it debates the new rules at a momentous meeting in Dublin.
Bret Harris writes in The Australian that there has been a recommendation to the IRB by the laws project group to trial all eight of the laws, which is supported by the Australian Rugby Union, but this is unlikely to receive the necessary 75 per cent backing of the 26-man council.
Most of the opposition to the laws is coming from European nations such as Ireland and Wales and, to a lesser degree, England.
The laws which are most likely to be adopted are the standing back five metres from the scrum and not kicking out on the full when the ball has been passed back into the 22.
But there is concern about the offside line at the tackle contest, the use of hands in the ruck, the awarding of free-kicks instead of penalties for most offences and collapsing the maul.
If the council decides against trialling all of the laws, the IRB is expected to move to have the whole package trialled in a professional northern hemisphere competition such as the Anglo-Welsh club league as soon as possible.
This would allow the possibility of all of the new laws being introduced at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
“It will come down to which laws are suitable and which aren’t,” IRB communications general manager Greg Thomas said.
“The recommendation is for the laws to be trialled in their entirety, but other people believe this should not be the case.
“The feeling around the world is that some of the laws are worth trialling, while others are the cause for more debate.”
The IRB is also expected to approve a recommendation to announce the next two World Cup host nations.
Tthe Rugby World Cup host is selected on a four-year cycle, but there is a belief that this system works against non-traditional rugby nations which may need longer to organise the event.Tweet