S14: Experimental Law Variations (ELVs)
Steve Deanes of the New Zealand Herald tries to tackle the new ELVs (and no, we don't mean Legolas!):
New rules bound to confuse everyone
The likely introduction of at least some of the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) - or Stellenbosch Rules, as they are alternatively known - into Super and test rugby might be designed to make the game simpler and easier to understand, but the teething period ain't gonna be pretty.
The debate over which laws, if any, to introduce into the Super 14 is far from concluded.
On November 15, Sanzar will meet (actually they'll tele-conference, but you get the point) and discuss their response to the IRB's request that the Super 14 be used as a guinea pig for the ELVs.
As it stands, it's likely at least some of the ELVs will make their way into the competition.
STELLENBOSCH EXPERIMENTAL RULE VARIATIONS
Now positioned 2 metres back from touch, in line with the goal line and dead ball line.
If a maul becomes unplayable free kick to team not in possession at the start of the maul.
Truck and trailer is permitted when breaking away from a maul; not permitted in general play.
The offside line for backs (except the halfback) is now 5 metres behind the hindmost foot.
KICKOFF AND RESTART KICKS
For all kick off and restart kicks, any infringement by the kicking team (e.g. player in front, ball kicked into touch on the full) will result in a free kick to the non offending team at the centre of the halfway line/22 metre line.
INSIDE THE 22
If a team passes or takes the ball back into the 22m area and then kicks the ball out on the full, the lineout is where the ball was kicked, unless a tackle has been made or a ruck or maul has formed.
LINEOUT AND THROW
A quick throw-in can be thrown backwards in the direction of the defender's goal line.
No maximum number of players in the lineout. Teams do not have to match numbers.
The receiver (halfback) must stand 2 metres back from the lineout.
TACKLE AND RUCK
Players must enter through the gate.
There are now offside lines at the tackle (extending the full width of the field).
If the ball is unplayable - free kick to team not in possession of the ball when the tackle took place.
Most offences at the tackle are now sanctioned with a free kick.
The halfback may not be touched unless he has his hands on the ball.
Players are permitted to use their hands in the ruck.
Players who deliberately or repeatedly offend any law are liable to penalty kick, yellow card, etc.
A maul can now be pulled down. This must be done by grasping a player between the shoulder and hips and bringing the maul to ground.
Players joining the maul must do so through the gate.