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World Rugby clarify 3 Law changes that will kick in from July 1st

By Ian Cameron
France's scrum-half Antoine Dupont (C) looks on as New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe speaks during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between France and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on October 15, 2023. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

World Rugby has clarified three law changes that will come into effect on July 1, 2024 – changes which aim to improve the game’s entertainment value while addressing safety concerns.


In a statement released this afternoon, the World Rugby Council confirmed that they have approved the amendments to enhance ball movement, expand attacking options and safeguard player welfare.

The new amendments specifically address offside rules from kicks in open play (AKA Dupont’s Law), refine the choices available from free-kicks, and ban the ‘crocodile roll’ tackle technique. These changes represent the latest phase of World Rugby’s “Shape of the Game” action plan designed to grow rugby’s audience by increasing accessibility and embracing innovation.

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World Rugby – Keep Rugby Clean

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World Rugby – Keep Rugby Clean

The offside law has been rewritten to prevent players from being put onside when the opposition catches a kicked ball and either runs five metres or passes. Offside players must now actively attempt to retreat – creating more space for the opposing team to move the ball and reducing the amount of back-and-forth ‘kick tennis’ that often slows the game.

This change will kill the loophole which saw incidents of players receiving a ball but refusing to move forwards, effectively giving them time to kick the ball downfield in a ‘king of the pitch’ style back and forth.

Maybe the most significant changes will be to laws around free-kicks.

For free-kicks, teams can no longer opt for a scrum. Instead, they are required to tap or kick the ball to keep play moving and create more attacking opportunities while reducing set-piece dead time.

World Rugby


The ‘crocodile roll’ – a tackle technique that involves rolling or pulling a player off their feet – has been banned to protect player safety and limit injuries. Penalizing this manoeuvre reinforces the importance of responsible tackling in rugby, World Rugby have said.

The law will help prevent some of the season-ending – and potentially career-ending – leg injuries that have resulted from the controversial practice.

In addition to these law changes, World Rugby is conducting six closed law trials across its competitions. This will include the likes of the U20 Championship and the Pacific Nations Cup.

These trials – open for national unions to opt into – include a revised red card sanction system allowing a player replacement after 20 minutes and a 30-second shot clock for scrum and lineout settings.


Further innovations include ensuring the scrum-half is not contestable at the base of a ruck or maul – increasing attacking options by allowing a mark inside the 22-metre line from a restart – and making play at lineouts more fluid by allowing it to continue if the ball isn’t thrown straight but the contest is uncontested.

The law amendments and trials are part of a comprehensive review by World Rugby to address recurring issues like slow ball movement and inconsistent use of technology. With specialist working groups exploring areas such as tackle height and fan experience – World Rugby say they aim to broaden rugby’s appeal with streamlined presentation and terminology that will attract younger audiences.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “I would like to thank my colleagues from across the game for embracing the spirit of this comprehensive review of rugby’s entertainment factor. With calendar certainty, including new competitions and all men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups set through to 2033, our major events are defined, our content set.

“There is unprecedented long-term certainty, and this work is vital to ensuring that the on-field product is befitting of the opportunities that we have in front of us, a superb sport that is enjoyable to play and watch and helps attract a new generation to get into rugby.

“Personally, I believe that the law amendments and suite of closed trials will add to the entertainment factor. As with all trials, we will comprehensively review their effectiveness and take feedback from across the game. The revised red card sanction process is such an example, and it is important that we trial, assess and make definitive decisions based on data and feedback.”

Unions and competitions have the option of implementing the package of law trials.



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Steve 72 days ago

Most crazy rule is when attacking player has to release but defender does not. Stop the defender doing that by saying hands off. That way fender would not kill the ball. Madness and crazy

Nickers 72 days ago

These rule changes have been implemented with good intentions, but much like every other rule change focus on isolated symptoms instead of the root cause.

If you cannot croc roll, and cannot risk any head contact with a front on clear out, it is not clear how you are supposed to lawfully clear someone out who is attempting a jackal. This will backfire massively and lead to substantially more kicking. Teams will simply not want to take the ball into contact. Or it will lead to even more dangerous methods to clear players out who are over the ball.

I much prefer having the set piece on a 30 second shot clock over no scrum on a short arm infringement.

Resets are not a problem in themselves, but 90 second water and tactics breaks before every scrum are a big problem. Trainers constantly coming on to the field to help players pull their socks up and delaying the game are a problem.

DuPont law was a blight on the game and should have been changed the day after it was first implemented.

Chris 73 days ago

So let me get this straight. Say you have the dominant scrum. You are 99% sure you can go for a scrum pushover try on the line to win the game. The opposition knows it too. They give away a silly tap kick instead. You are now not allowed to scrum. This is ridiculous! *%@ing the game up as usual! The fact that the attacking teams are not allowed to scrum from a held up over the line is just as ridiculous. Really world rugby? Careful people might start a rebel league called True Rugby or Real Rugby.

Mitch 73 days ago

Getting rid of the Dupont Law is a good thing and ought to have been done months ago! Officially getting rid of the croc roll is a good thing. The law about no scrums from a short arm is well intended in terms of speeding the game up but it’s an overreaction to a clever yet calculated gamble that could have blow up in South Africa’s face if they conceded a penalty from the scrum that was set after Willemse took claimed the mark in the World Cup QF.

Lou Cifer 73 days ago

We see you World Rugby….we see you🤡😏

Reece 73 days ago

So spiteful that the Springboks won again, they just had to change the laws so that they would stand a chance.

Steve 73 days ago

Why don't they just give up on scrums and lineouts, cut the number of players to 13, and call the game ‘rugby league’? These idiots are determined to destroy the game as we know it, and instead of ‘attracting youngsters to the game’ as Beaumont suggests, it’ll deter a lot of the less skilled, maybe overweight kids who it is perfect for.
World Rugby is detestable. And as for the 20 minute ‘red’ - why not teach the players to tackle better? (Like the current tackle height trials are supposed to do, but will probably be squashed by the NZRU as usual). I despair for the union game, I really do.

MattJH 74 days ago

What about a free kick from a scrum? Can you call another scrum? Or are they just giving straight penalties now?

Greg 74 days ago

Loved that comment by Andrew that the ‘water boys’ rule was changed in 2020 just to stymie the Boks!

finn 74 days ago

a lot of focus on the targeting of south africa, but aspects of this are positive. The croc roll; the offside law; and time limits on set pieces are all good.

calling for a mark off kick offs is baffling, but I guess we’ll see how it plays out in practice

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Wonton 5 hours ago
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One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 7 hours ago
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Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

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