Rugby Union: New law book praised: Delight at plain-speaking conversion

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TOP rugby players, referees and officials were united in a rare show of agreement by welcoming yesterday's publication of The Laws in Plain English.

The new publication, which has rewritten rugby's convoluted law book, has already been acclaimed by the Plain English Campaign.

The rewritten laws will run in tandem with the official version, though the hope is that the International Board, who issued the streamlined version, will eventually discard the near-unreadable current laws.

The improvement will become clear to players when they compare the two versions of a knock-on.

Old version: 'A throw-forward occurs when a player carrying the ball throws or passes it in the direction of his opponents' dead-ball line.'

New version: 'A throw-forward happens when a player throws the ball forward.'

Vernon Pugh, chairman of the International Board, said: 'This takes away any excuse the player could have for ignorance of the laws. It is in everyone's interest that there is one version of the laws.'

The authors are Derek Robinson, Jim Crowe and Peter Hughes, who are all current or former referees.

England manager Jack Rowell said: 'Coaches, including myself, never fully understood the laws and the user-friendly version will encourage them being read.'

Top England referee Ed Morrison said: 'This is going to make life easier. Very few players have studied the laws because they are hard to read.'

The publication, underwritten by World Cup sponsors Famous Grouse Whisky, will be sent to all 63 IB nations.