RFL Confirms New Law Interpretations

The RFL Match Officials department has confirmed that there will be four new law interpretations for the new season.

The laws, which will apply to all games involving engage Super League, National League and Academy teams, have been agreed following consultation between the RFL and coaches and will come into force from Boxing Day’s friendly matches onwards.

Stuart Cummings, RFL Match Officials Director, said: “Each year we sit down with the coaches to discuss areas where laws can be changed to benefit the game.

"This year we have agreed four changes that are designed to clear up a few problem areas from last year whilst also speeding up the game."

One of the biggest changes will see a law that has been used in Australia’s NRL for the last couple of years brought into the UK game. For the new season, at a 20m restart, if the ball is kicked and bounces in the field of play before going into touch then a scrum will be awarded with the head and feed awarded to the kicking team.

Scrums will also be open to a new interpretation during the 2008 season, with the loose forward no longer able to trap the ball at the back of the scrum in order to catch the opposition offside. Going forward the ball will be deemed to be out of the scrum when it has emerged from between and behind the inner feet of the second row forwards.

Until the ball reaches this stage, the opposing scrum half must stand behind the back foot of his loose forward.

The offside interpretation is also changing slightly, with all defenders having to ensure that they have both feet behind the referee’s front foot which will act as a guide to the 10 metres from the play the ball.

The final change should also ensure that there is no repeat of the penalty try that was awarded last year when the attacking team had the ball stolen over an opponent’s try line. From next year such an offence will result in a penalty rather than a penalty try.

Stuart Cummings added: "As with all law changes they may take some time getting used to, not only for the players or the coaches who agreed to them, but also the supporters and the match officials. By implementing these changes from the Boxing Day games onwards, hopefully everyone will have the opportunity to get used to them in time for the start of the new season."

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