World Rugby confirms five new laws to be trialed in 2017

There are different start dates for the different hemispheres

World Rugby has announced that they are to trial five new laws in 2017.

The amendments, which will deal with front-row replacements, advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping, will begin on the 1st January in the Southern Hemisphere.

They will be trialled on the 1st of August in the Northern Hemispehere.

The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and June window internationals will be played under the global law trials.

Rugby committee chairman John Jefferey says some of the laws are designed to reduce negative play.

"These law amendments, which will go to global trial next year, are designed to improve the experience of those playing and watching the game at all levels and to avoid negative play where possible. We will gather all the data from the trial and then present it to the LRG and Rugby Committee for further consideration," he said.

The laws under consideration are as follows:

Law 3 Number of Players – The Team
3.6 (Uncontested Scrums)
Add (h) Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.
Reasoning: To discourage teams from going to uncontested scrums.

Law 5 Time
Add to 5.7(e) 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.
Reasoning: To discourage teams from infringing in the dying moments of the game.

Law 8 Advantage
Add to 8.1(a) When there are multiple penalty 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.
Reasoning: To discourage repeat offending when advantage is already being played and to reward teams against whom repeat offending has taken place.

Law 9 Method of Scoring
9.A.1 (points values)
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.
Value: 7 points
Reasoning: To discourage teams from illegally preventing a probable try from being scored while also saving time on the clock by negating the need for a conversion.

Law 19 Touch and Lineout
Add to definitions on page 117:
• A player who is attempting to bring the ball under control is deemed to be in possession of the ball.
Reasoning: This brings into law something that is already applied in practice. It means that a player "juggling” the ball does not have to be in contact with it at the exact moment of touching the touchline or the ground beyond it for the ball to be deemed to be in touch. This makes it easier for the match officials to adjudicate.