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2018 laws are in production

The laws of rugby have been simplified and retructured for the 2018 law book. World Rugby is working to roll out this new content across our various languages. Your chosen language is not yet available. In the meantime you can browse the 2017 laws site.

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May 2018 law amends - summary of changes

The following Global Law Trials were approved by World Rugby Council for adoption into law with effect from May 16th 2018.

Amended text highlighted in blue

Law 3: Team

Uncontested scrums requiring eight players per side

Addition of new number 3.15:

  1. Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Consequential renumbering: 15-33 become 16-34

Addition of sentence to 19.6 (U19 variations):

  1. All players in the three front-row positions and the two lock positions must be suitably trained for these positions. If a team cannot field such suitably trained players for whatever reason, then the referee must order uncontested scrums. Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Law 5: Time

Kicking to touch to end the half

  1. A half ends when the ball becomes dead after time has expired unless:
    1. A scrum, lineout or restart kick following a try or touchdown, awarded before time expired, has not been completed and the ball has not returned to open play. This includes when the scrum, lineout or restart kick is taken incorrectly.
    2. The referee awards a free-kick or penalty.
    3. Add new c:

    4. A penalty is kicked directly to touch without the ball first being tapped and without the ball touching another player.
    5. Consequential renumbering: c becomes d

    6. A try has been scored, in which case the referee allows time for the conversion to be taken.

Law 7: Advantage

Allowing the team captain to choose penalty mark after advantage

  1. Advantage ends when:
    1. The referee deems that the non-offending team has gained an advantage. The referee allows play to continue; or
    2. The referee deems that the non-offending team is unlikely to gain an advantage. The referee stops the game and applies the sanction for the infringement from which advantage was being played; or
    3. The non-offending team commits an infringement before they have gained an advantage. The referee stops the game and applies the sanction for the first infringement. If either or both infringements are for foul play, the referee applies the appropriate sanction(s) for the offence(s); or
    4. Amend d:

    5. The offending team commits a second infringement from which no advantage can be gained. The referee stops play and applies the appropriate and more advantageous sanction (either tactically or territorially).
    6. The offending team commits a second or subsequent infringement from which no advantage can be gained. The referee stops play and allows the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous sanction.

Law 8: Scoring

Penalty try worth seven points and no conversions

  1. Methods and points value of scoring:
    1. Amend a:

    2. Try or penalty try. Five points.
    3. Conversion. Two points.
    4. Add new c:

    5. Penalty try. Seven points.
    6. Consequential renumbering: c and d become d and e

    7. Penalty goal. Three points.
    8. Dropped goal. Three points.

Addition to number 3:

  1. A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts if foul play by the opposing team prevents a probable try from being scored, or scored in a more advantageous position. A player guilty of this must be cautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off. No conversion is attempted.

Amend number 7:

  1. When a try or penalty try is scored, it gives that team the right to attempt a conversion, which may be a place-kick or drop-kick.

Amend sevens variations:

  1. When a try or penalty try is scored, it gives that team the right to attempt a conversion, which must be a drop kick.

Amend tens variations:

  1. When a try or penalty try is scored, it gives that team the right to attempt a conversion, which must be a drop kick.

Law 14: Tackle

Tackler required to play from own side of tackle gate

Amend number 14.6:

  1. Tacklers may play the ball from any direction provided they have complied with the above responsibilities and a ruck has not formed.
  1. Tacklers may play the ball from the direction of their own goal line provided they have complied with the above responsibilities and a ruck has not formed.

Offside lines created after tackle

Add new 14.10:

  1. Offside lines are created at a tackle when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball, which is on the ground. Each team’s offside line runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any player in the tackle or on their feet over the ball. If that point is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for that team is the goal line.

Consequential renumbering: 14.10 becomes 14.11

Law 15: Ruck

Kicking the ball out of the ruck

  1. Players must not:
    1. Pick the ball up with their legs.
    2. Intentionally collapse a ruck or jump on top of it.
    3. Intentionally step on another player.
    4. Fall over the ball as it is coming out of a ruck.
    5. Add new e:

    6. Kick, or attempt to kick, the ball out of a ruck. Sanction: Penalty.
    7. Consequential renumbering: e and f become f and g

Law 17: Mark

Amend to mark law

Amend 17.1b:

  1. To claim a mark, a player must:
    1. Have at least one foot on or behind their own 22-metre line when catching the ball or when landing having caught it in the air; and
    2. Catch a ball that has reached the plane of the 22-metre line directly from an opponent’s kick before it touches the ground or another player; and
    3. Simultaneously call “mark”.

Law 18: Touch, quick throw and lineout

Touch definition

  1. The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:
    1. The ball reaches the plane of touch but is caught, knocked or kicked by a player who is in the playing area.
    2. A player jumps, from within or outside the playing area, and catches the ball, and then lands in the playing area, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
    3. Add new c:

    4. A player jumps from the playing area and knocks (or catches and releases) the ball back into the playing area, before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
    5. Consequential renumbering: c becomes d

    6. A player, who is in touch, kicks or knocks the ball, but does not hold it, provided it has not reached the plane of touch.

Identifying the player who has taken the ball into touch

Add new 1.b i and ii:

  1. The ball is in touch or touch-in-goal when:
    1. The ball or ball-carrier touches the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond.
    2. A player, who is already touching the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond, catches or holds the ball.
      1. If the ball has reached the plane of touch when it is caught, the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
      2. If the ball has not reached the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

Amend last two lines of 18.8a table from:

Event Location of the mark of touch Who throws in
A player, who is in touch, picks up a moving ball. Where that player is standing. Whoever would have thrown in if the ball had continued to the touch line.
A player, who is in touch, picks up a stationary ball. Where that player is standing. The opposition.

To this:

A player, who is in touch, catches or picks up a ball which has reached the plane of touch. Where the ball reached the plane of touch. The team of the player who caught or picked up the ball.
A player, who is in touch, catches or picks up a ball which has not reached the plane of touch. Where that player is standing. The opposition.

Amend last line of 18.8c table from:

A player, who is in touch, picks up a moving ball that has not reached the touchline. Where that player is standing. The kicking team.

To this:

A player, who is in touch, picks up a ball that has not reached the plane of touch. Where that player is standing. The kicking team.

Gain in ground unaffected by whether ball was stationary or moving

Amend 18.8d table from:

Event Location of the mark of touch Who throws in
NO GAIN IN GROUND
The defending team took the ball into their 22, no tackle, ruck or maul took place and no opponent touched the ball within the 22.

To this:

Event Location of the mark of touch Who throws in
NO GAIN IN GROUND
The defending team took the ball into their 22, no tackle, ruck or maul took place and no opponent touched the ball within the 22. If a player, who is inside their own 22, picks up the ball when it is outside the 22, or catches the ball before it reaches the plane of the 22-metre line, and kicks it directly to touch from within the 22, then that player has taken the ball back into the 22.

Law 19: Scrum

No signal from referee for ball to be thrown into scrum

Delete 19.15

Consequential renumbering: 16-39 become 15-38

Amend 19.15 from:

  1. The scrum-half throws in the ball:

to this:

  1. When both sides are square, stable and stationary, the scrum-half throws in the ball:

Scrum half shoulder alignment

Amend 19.15 (f) from:

f. Straight along the middle line.

To this:

f. Straight. The scrum-half may align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, thereby standing a shoulder-width closer to their side of the scrum.


Obligaton to strike for the ball in the scrum

Add new 19.22:

  1. The hooker from the team which threw in the ball must strike for the ball. Sanction: Free-kick.

Consequential renumbering: 23-38 become 24-39.


Number eight can pick up ball from feet of second rows

  1. The scrum ends:
    1. When the ball comes out of the scrum in any direction except the tunnel.
    2. When the ball reaches the feet of the hindmost player and it is picked up by that player or is played by that team’s scrum-half.
    3. Add new c:

    4. When the number eight picks up the ball from the feet of a second-row player.
    5. Consequential renumbering: c and d become d and e

    6. When the referee blows the whistle for an infringement.
    7. When the ball in a scrum is on or over the goal line.

Law 21: In-goal

Stationary or moving ball is irrelevant in in-goal

Delete 21.14

Consequential renumbering: 15-20 become 14-19

Amend 21.14 (was 21.15):

  1. If a player, who is in in-goal, catches or picks up a ball that is still in the field of play, that player has taken the ball into in-goal.

Amend 21.15 (was 21.16):

  1. If a player who is on or beyond the dead-ball-line, or who is in touch-in-goal, catches or picks up a ball within in-goal, that player has made the ball dead.

Delete 21.16

Consequential renumbering: 17-19 become 16-18