Rugby Union: International Board's rule changes

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Scoring values change to make a try worth five points. Penalties and drop goals still worth three points but teams awarded a free kick may not score a drop goal until after the ball next becomes dead.

After a tackle any other player (not involved in the tackle) must be on his feet when he plays the ball.

In general play, offside players may not advance towards a player waiting to play the ball until they have been put onside.

In scrummages, front rows must advance to one arm's length from opponents and may not form the scrummage until the referee has marked the place of engagement.

In a set scrummage the hooker may raise his foot when the ball leaves the hands of the player putting it in.

It is now illegal intentionally to lift an opponent off his feet or force him upwards out of a scrummage.

When a five-metre scrummage is awarded it will be opposite where the ball became dead and not where it crossed the goal-line.

The scrum-half may not take any action while the ball is still in a scrummage to convey to opponents that the ball is out.

When a player receives the ball outside his 22 and runs behind the 22 to kick for touch, he may not gain ground from the kick.

If a free-kick outside the 22 is kicked directly into touch the kicker's team may not gain ground.

When a penalty is kicked directly into touch the same team will have the throw-in.

A player kicking for touch from a free-kick may only punt or drop-kick the ball.

A quick kick may be taken at either a penalty or free-kick without waiting for players of that team to retire behind the ball, provided those players do not become involved in play.

At a quick throw the ball may be thrown in from any point along the touchline nearer to the defending team's goal-line, provided the player uses the same ball and retrieves it himself.

From the kick-off, if the ball crosses the opposing team's goal-line without being touched by the defending team, that team may have a scrummage at half-way. The kick-off after the opposing side scores is to be a drop-kick.

Up to four replacements may be used by each team because of injury.

At half-time coaches may go on the field in under-19 rugby and in domestic matches approved by a union.

A player's union or affiliated organisation may cite a player for foul play which has not been detected by match officials.

Twelve penalty provisions have been changed to free-kicks, including the intentional knock-on, using another player in a line-out for support, moving beyond the end of the line-out, handling or picking up the ball in a scrummage, and in cases of delay or time-wasting.


In a maul when the ball becomes unplayable, the team not in possession at the start of the maul will put the ball into the ensuing scrummage.

The same will apply to a ruck except when the referee is unable to determine the team responsible.

In line-outs a space of one metre will be necessary between the lines of players (at present 50cm), but the rule of one metre between players of the same side has been deleted.

When jumping at a line-out a player must use both hands or his inside arm to catch the ball.