Waratahs coach Rob Penney is eager to get a sneak peek of law changes in New Zealand’s Super Rugby competition before Australia’s tournament reboot next month.


Rule changes for the Australian Super Rugby competition will be announced on Friday, with some also being used in Super Rugby Aotearoa, which kicks off on Saturday in Dunedin.

The two rules that both competitions will introduce are extra time to decide a draw – to be called Super Time in Australia – and the ability to replace a red-carded player after 20 minutes.

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Waikato Chiefs coach Warren Gatland speaks to media ahead of Rd1 of Super Rugby Aotearoa

While not an official law change there will be an emphasis from referees on speeding up the breakdown and a crackdown on time-wasting and scrum resets.

Super Rugby AU will also borrow from NRL, with dropouts taken from the try line instead of the 22 if the defending player grounds the ball in-goal.

They will also tweak league’s 40/20 kick rule to be a 50/22 with both laws designed to benefit the attack. They will also eliminate marks in the 22.

Penney said the NRL had shown how a few changes could make a big impact on the game, and hoped the rules would be permanently adopted worldwide if they proved to be a success.


“I think the ones we’re taking into our competition … we’ve gone obviously a bit further than New Zealand,” Penney said.

“We’ve had to be really conscious about not impacting negatively on the international games that will occur, hopefully, post our competition.

“There’s quite a few that could be easily adopted if they have a positive outcome in our comp and they could take the game forward, which is needed.

“Look at the other code – they made a couple of subtle changes and it’s a different game.”


He said New Zealand would give them some insight into the new interpretations, and the Waratahs would introduce the rules into training from next week.

Reds coach Brad Thorn said that as a former tight forward he was a traditionalist.

“If it were up to me we’d just be scrumming all day and mauling, I’m probably the wrong guy,” he said, when quizzed on his views.

“The World Cup – didn’t it get the best viewing ever? You look at school rugby, first 15 is thriving, look at club rugby doing really well in Sydney and Brisbane.

“It’s a cool thing, rule changes, but we just want to be playing the game better, that’s our resolve.”

– Melissa Woods

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