Another year and another set of changes to the game that we all (thought we) know and love! Brace yourselves, guys and let’s try to get to grips with what’s going to be different in Super Rugby 2013.
We’ve already talked about the increase of the half-time break from 10 minutes to 12 – whether that’s got anything to do with making players just that little fresher for the second 40, or simply to increase the amount of ads that can be squeezed in, we’ll never know, but I guess it is what it is. More interesting are the changes that will be implemented during actual playing time.
Over the last few months, we’ve all got used to the new “crouch, touch, set” scrum call sequence, which will replace the “crouch, touch, pause, engage” waste of time that we’ve had to endure in recent years. That will continue in Super Rugby, which should hopefully reduce the number of failed scrums, as well as cut down on the agonising 5-minute wait we often have to endure as overly-officious referees can’t seem to remember what the next command is. There will also be a change to the quick-throw law, allowing a team to take a quick throw when the player is anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and the player’s goal line. Also, a non-offending team will now be allowed to take a lineout, rather than a scrum, when the opposition knocks the ball into touch.
The most interesting changes, though. are the implementation of a 5-second limit for ball held at the back of the ruck – basically, once the ball has been “available” to the scrumhalf at the base of the ruck for 5 seconds, he will need to “use it or lose it” – and the extension of the TMO’s power’s beyond simply ruling on try-scoring activity. In the latter case, though, there is some good news, in that the new TMO jurisdiction won’t go as far as it did during the Currie Cup, where the TMO could go arbitrarily far back to find virtually any reason he liked to not award a try.
For Super Rugby, the TMO will be allowed to rule “in-game” on incidents of foul play, if referred by the referee, but will only be able to review try-scoring plays for infringements within the last two phases. We’ll have to see how that works out, but it should be better than the Currie Cup.
The other interesting news is that these law variations will be trialled on a global basis across both Northern and Southern hemispheres this year, rather than in a piecemeal, competition-by-competition fashion as we’ve seen in the past.Tweet