A number of minor law amendments will come into effect next season and will apply to Wales’ June internationals in New Zealand. In all, there are seven amendments and one interpretation change :-
1) The replacement of an injured player following foul play does not count as one of the allotted number of replacements available to that team.
2) Advantage may be played following a scrum collapse if there is no player safety risk.
3) Play acting or “simulation” is specifically outlawed so any player who dives or feigns injury in an effort to influence the match officials will be liable for sanction.
4) Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 30 seconds unless the referee stops the clock for an injury or another stoppage.
5) At a re-set scrum following a 90-degree wheel, the put-in will remain with the team that previously threw it in.
6) The scrum-half following the ball around a scrum may not move into the space between the flanker and number eight.
7) When the ball has been at the No.8’s feet in a stationary scrum for 3-5 seconds, the referee will call “use it” and the attacking team must use the ball immediately.
The above seem to be sensible – indeed some are merely re-instating old practice that the legislators in their wisdom decided to tinker with – but, in addition, a new maul guideline means that the ball can be moved backwards hand-to-hand once the maul has formed and a player is not allowed to move to the back of the maul when he is in possession of the ball. This, however, does not address the fundamental off-side of players in advance of the ball.
There is no news yet of the dreaded 6-point try experiment which robbed last year’s Premiership of variety in a series of maul-dominated matches but the WRU’s Geraint John was moved last week to say that it did not produce the hoped-for outcomes although the WRU will obviously be bound by any world game changes.