Tuesday, 19 May 2009

British Lions to play under ELVs

The IRB recently endorsed a recommendation to incorporate 10 of 13 Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) into the official rugby union laws. These are to be implemented globally from 23 May 2009, just in time for the 2009 British Lions tour to South Africa!

Let's hope Geech and his team saw this coming, or the Lions could be at a significant disadvantage - they've been playing under the old laws in the Six Nations, Guiness Premiership and Heineken Cup while the southern hemisphere boys have been playing the ELVs for the last couple of years!

ELVs not adopted

The following ELVs have not been adopted:
  • Law 17 - Maul - Head and shoulders not to be lower than hips.

  • Law 17 - Maul - Pulling down the maul.

  • Law 19 - Freedom for each team to determine lineout numbers.

Probably the most significant one there is not being able to pull down the maul - one suspects this could be a key weapon as both the Lions and Springboks are likely to field big packs and adopt a forward-oriented approach, at least initially.

The other significant decision was not to implement the system of awarding free kicks rather than full penalties for most infringements, which should bring the kickers into the game more, and keep defences honest in the strike zone.

The following ELVs will be adopted

  • Law 06 - Assistant referees able to assist referees in any way the referee requires.

  • Law 19 - If a team puts the ball back in their own 22 and the ball is subsequently kicked directly into touch there is no gain in ground.

  • Law 19 - A quick throw may be thrown in straight or towards the throwing team's goal line.

  • Law 19 - The receiver at the lineout must be two metres back away from the lineout.

  • Law 19 - The player who is in opposition to the player throwing in the ball must stand in the area between the five metre line and touch line and must be two metres from the line of touch and at least two metres from the lineout.

  • Law 19 - Lineout players may pre-grip a jumper before the ball is thrown in.

  • Law 19 - The lifting of lineout jumpers is permitted.

  • Law 20 - Introduction of an offside line five metres behind the hindmost feet of the scrum.

  • Law 20 - Scrum-half offside line at the scrum.

  • Law 20 - The corner posts are no longer considered to be touch in goal except when the ball is grounded against the post.

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