Category: General

7s Laws Changes for 2017

USA Rugby has requested, from World Rugby, official permission to institute these new laws effective immediately (rather than wait until September 1st for the Northern Hemisphere), and USA Rugby has received the go- ahead from World Rugby. The new laws have been in effect for the entire current HSBC Sevens World Series, and will bring the USA in line with what you are all watching at the top level. The highlights include:

  • All matches are now 7 minute halves, no more 10 minute halves for Cup Finals (5.1)
  • Restart kicks must be taken within 30 seconds from the time a conversion has been taken or declined (13.2)
  • Restart kicks must be taken within 30 seconds from the time a penalty goal or drop goal is attempted, whether it is successful or goes dead (13.2)
  • Teams must form a line out within 15 seconds from the time the referee has indicated where the throw will take place (19.8)
  • Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 15 seconds from the time the referee has indicates the mark of the scrum (20.1)
  • A penalty or free kick must be taken within 30 seconds of being awarded (21)
  • If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead (5.7)
  • When there are multiple infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks (8.1)
  • Penalty try – If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted – automatic 7 points (9.A.1)
  • A player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball (19)
  • If a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches [crosses] the plane of touch (19)
  • If the ball carrier reaches [crosses] the plane of touch but returns the ball to the playing area without first landing in touch, play continues (19)
  • If the ball has not passed the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up [by a player standing in touch], then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary [no more catching the ball in the field of play, with a foot out to touch, and getting the throw in] (19)


From Rugby Virginia (but this applies equally to College and Club.):

Some parents have inquired about getting protective eyewear for their child. In an effort to allow people who need to wear corrective lenses to do so safely while playing rugby and to accommodate people with monocular vision or chronic eye conditions who wish to wear goggles while playing Rugby, World Rugby has developed specific goggles – “Rugby Goggles.” Rugby Goggles have been developed with a view to posing no additional risk to the wearer and other players.
Here is the link to order the goggles:

No other eyewear is permitted during play, so this is our one and only option.

Drone Policy

This is effective for the RSV-only until other bodies enact policy:

Aerial drones used during a rugby match are permitted over the playing enclosure IF BOTH match teams AND the referee agree to its presence.The device must be maintained at a minimum of 20 meters (approx 65.6 feet) above the playing surface. The agreement may be revoked by ANY of the parties during the match. In addition to the agreement between teams and the referee, there must not be an implicit or explicit restriction by the owner/renter of the field. As applicable, there must not be a prohibition by the competitive league, match organizer, or school district. The operator must follow any local, state, or federal laws, policies and/or regulations. The operator must follow FAA requirements for appropriate licensing and flight space approval.

RSV Fw: PLEASE DISTRIBUTE: World Rugby announces new measures to limit contact with the head

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For immediate release: Wednesday 14 December 2016
Issued on behalf of World Rugby
World Rugby announces new measures to limit contact with the head
  • New law application guideline will codify zero-tolerance to contact with the head
  • Approach informed by largest-ever study identifying most common situations leading to head injuries
  • Players, coaches and match officials urged to be proactive in changing culture
  • Latest step in proactive, evidence-driven approach to injury reduction
  • Head is a no-go area

World Rugby has further strengthened its commitment to injury prevention by announcing details of a zero-tolerance approach to reckless and accidental head contact in the sport.

While injuries in the game are not on the rise, the federation continues to be proactive in furthering evidence-based strategies to reduce injury risk for all players.

In a change to law, World Rugby has redefined illegal (high) tackle categories and increased sanctions to deter high tackles via a law application guideline. This will apply at all levels of the game from 3 January 2017 introducing minimum on-field sanctions for reckless and accidental contact with the head, effectively lowering the acceptable height of the tackle.The guideline will be supported with a global education programme.

The approach, approved by the World Rugby Council after extensive expert, independent and union evaluation, combines with new disciplinary sanctions and a re-focus of match officials on dangerous play. It will provide a package of measures that aims to change culture in the sport to ensure that the head is a no-go area.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "World Rugby continues to be proactive in aligning with the latest evidence-based recommendations in this priority player welfare area to ensure players and coaches at all levels of the game are appropriately educated, managed and protected when it comes to head impacts and injury within the environment of a contact sport.

"We believe that we are playing a leading role in terms of the development and implementation of best-practice interventions and this important study further reflects our commitment to an evidence-based approach to player welfare. We believe that the invaluable data from this study will inform the law review process and lead to changes in playing or training practices."

Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong said: "When it comes to protecting the head and neck of players, everyone is rightly very cautious now. The culture around concussion has completely changed and it’s no longer acceptable for players to continue in a game if they’re even suspected of having a concussion. When it comes to dealing effectively with concussion in sport, rugby is at the forefront. The International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA) supports any measure that protects our welfare and we are in favour of this initiative, which we believe will help further to reduce head and neck injuries at all levels of the game. Rugby is a physical sport and there will always be a level of injury risk associated with it but the sport is doing as much as it can to make it as safe as possible."

World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Martin Raftery added: "The findings of this important research study will also be prepared into a series of scientific articles that we aim to have published in peer-reviewed journals. We continue to welcome and facilitate all quality research for the betterment of the game in this priority area.

"World Rugby is committed to playing a leading role in the sporting head injury agenda and continues to drive forward evidence-based strategies in education, prevention, management and research that are proving successful in protecting players at all levels of the sport."

From 3 January, 2017, two new categories of dangerous tackles will carry penalty offences to deter and eradicate high tackles:

Reckless tackle
A player is deemed to have made reckless contact during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game if in making contact, the player knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway. This sanction applies even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. This type of contact also applies to grabbing and rolling or twisting around the head/neck area even if the contact starts below the line of the shoulders.

Minimum sanction: Yellow card
Maximum sanction: Red card

Accidental tackle
When making contact with another player during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game, if a player makes accidental contact with an opponent’s head, either directly or where the contact starts below the line of the shoulders, the player may still be sanctioned. This includes situations where the ball-carrier slips into the tackle.

Minimum sanction: Penalty


Global education programme
World Rugby will support this initiative with a global awareness and education programme aimed at:

  • Reinforcing the zero-tolerance culture regarding head contact in the game at all levels using practical advice and visual educational materials
  • Educating that illegal tackles are not necessarily defined by where they start as they can slip up from a legal position to make contact with the neck/head
  • Educating that "bent at the waist” while tackling and entering into contact is the optimal position for injury prevention
  • Promoting best-possible technique to protect the head – expert advice will be obtained from elite defence coaches to identify the best tackle technique and the best impact position for the ball-carrier, including guidelines on double and treble tackling.

World Rugby is also investigating the practicality of a closed trial of a lowered tackle height at community age-grade level in 2017.

Extensive research programme
This ground-breaking programme is entirely evidence-based and these interventions have been developed by game experts following extensive research examining videos of more than 600 incidents leading to head injury assessments (HIA)* occurring across 1,516 elite-level matches globally between 2012 and 2015.

Specifically, World Rugby investigated circumstantial and law factors that may contribute to head injury events to enable the international federation’s game expert group to determine whether potential law amendments or other interventions are indicated.

The study focused on tackle injuries and considered a number of conditions associated with the tackle including: The presence of foul play; what happened at the preceding event; the nature and angle of contact; body positions at the point of impact; the tackle height; the relative velocity at the time of impact; the number of tacklers involved; the type of tackle; and other variables.

The data confirmed that 76 per cent of all head injuries occur in the tackle, that the incidence of injury for the tackler is more than two and a half times greater than the ball-carrier and that tackle height is a contributing factor.

Headline findings:

  • 611 HIA incidents were reviewed from 1,516 elite matches
  • 76 per cent of HIA incidents occur in the tackle
  • 72 per cent of HIA incidents in the tackle occur to the tackler
  • Body position, speed and direction of tackle all influence risk

A specialist multi-disciplinary injury prevention group of game experts, comprising elite coaches and individuals with playing and match officiating experience at the elite and community levels was tasked with reviewing the data. The group then made recommendations to World Rugby’s Law Review Group and education departments for consideration with the following injury prevention interventions proposed to and approved by World Rugby’s Rugby and Executive Committees.

Editors’ notes:
While injuries in elite rugby are not increasing, Rugby is committed to an evidence-based approach to furthering injury-prevention in the sport and collaborates with subject specialists to deliver its suite of education, prevention, management and research strategies that are proven to be benefitting players at all levels. These programmes include:


  • Global ‘Recognise and Remove’ education programme in 2016 that has delivered an 80 per cent increase in the use of the www.playerwelfare.worldrugby.o rg website, which is delivered in 11 languages, while 3,100 medics have undertaken World Rugby’s elite immediate care in rugby course, 69,000 people have completed online concussion education and a further 250,000 have undertaken concussion education around the world within World Rugby’s Rugby Ready programme
  • World Rugby’s head injury guidance materials for the general public used by governments, agencies and sporting federations around the world
  • Concussion education modules and guidance for public, players and medics completed by 300,000 in 2015 and used as benchmark in sport, adopted by Scottish parliament (App available via iTunes store)
  • Mandatory accreditation of elite rugby doctors through ground-breaking tournament player welfare standards programme delivering consistency of assessment and treatment for emergency care and concussion assessment and management


  • Innovative and ground-breaking tournament player welfare standards programme boosting head injury best practice compliance
  • Untoward incident review system to ensure compliance of concussion management – a first for sport
  • A revised disciplinary sanctions framework that will operate from 3 January that will see tougher sanctions introduced for dangerous play relating to the head
  • Zero-tolerance approach to illegal or dangerous play within the match official community to deter contact with the head


  • Ground-breaking tournament player welfare standards adopted by major elite competitions, featuring six mandatory concussion education, management and review modules
  • Temporary replacement for Head Injury Assessment (HIA) adopted in law with reduction of concussed players returning to play following assessment from 56 per cent pre-HIA to four per cent at Rugby World Cup 2015
  • Introduction of pitch-side and medical room video review technology for head injury identification and assessment (used in over 60 per cent of permanent removal cases)
  • Three-point-in-time concussion assessment post-match and Graduated Return to Play
  • Independent concussion consultants advising on return to play following concussive symptoms at Rugby World Cup 2015


  • Player welfare the central consideration behind future law amendments with specialist multi-disciplinary injury-prevention group overseeing largest-ever study of head injury causes in the game
  • Commissioned and published peer-reviewed independent research investigating long-term health impact of rugby participation

For further information on World Rugby’s concussion education programmes and public guidance visit www.playerwelfare.worldrugby.o rg and you can download World Rugby’s free #RecogniseAndRemove concussion education App from the IOS store p/world-rugby-concussion-manag ement/id1031517215?mt=8

View World Rugby’s Recognise and Remove education video here >>

Watch a full interview with Dr Martin Raftery here >>

Head of Communications, World Rugby
T: +353-86-8520-826
E: dominic.rumbles
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RICHARD EVERY | High Performance Referee Manager | USA Rugby
e: revery t: 773 895 6013
2655 Crescent Dr, Suite A, Lafayette, CO 80026


Guideline: Ball Carrier Hurdling a Tackler

Please see below USA Rugby’s guideline for a Ball Carrier Hurdling a Tackler. It was informally discussed with World Rugby. It should be addressed on a case by case basis.
Ball Carrier Hurdling Tackler Guideline
We have been asked many times if this is Dangerous Play.  This is not specified in Law 10.4, and the question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no because there are so many possible variations on the situation. 
The short answer is that sometimes it is dangerous and other times it is not, depending on the circumstances.  Each play must be judged on its own merit by the referee.  Here are some factors to consider when viewing this sort of play:
1)    Dangerous Play is not restricted to the specific actions listed in 10.4.  That is a list of many of the most common occurrences of Dangerous Play, but the fact that an action isn’t listed does not mean the referee cannot penalize for something deemed dangerous when seen in a game.  Here are some actions that aren’t listed in 10.4, but which definitely could be called dangerous:
  • biting an opponent
  • spitting on an opponent
  • punching a teammate
2)    There is general agreement that if the defender is directly in front of the ball carrier and standing in a normal tackling position, and the ball carrier goes over the defender like clearing the high hurdles, this is dangerous.  There are two reasons:
  • It is dangerous to the opponent because that action brings boots into close proximity of a players face/head.
  • It is dangerous to the ball carrier because if the defender manages to make contact while attempting to tackle, the ball carrier could get flipped and land on his head/neck.
3)    Also remember that there are many examples that could be called “hurdling” that are just fine and we see them in almost every game:
  • Jumping over a player who is lying on the ground
  • Jumping to avoid the outstretched arms of a diving tackle attempt from the side.
In conclusion, if it is hurdling a standing (or crouched) defender directly in front of the ball carrier, it is dangerous.  If it is something from paragraph three it is most likely fine.  For the middle range, the referee needs to judge based on what is presented at the moment.
RICHARD EVERY  |  High Performance Referee Manager  |  USA Rugby
2655 Crescent Dr, Suite A, Lafayette, CO 80026


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