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World Rugby plan to amend controversial 'Dupont Law'

By Josh Raisey
Antoine Dupont of France during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between France and Namibia at Stade Velodrome on September 21, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

World Rugby have revealed a list of law amendments and trials that will be considered by the World Rugby Council at its May 9 meeting.

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An extensive series of changes have been put forward, with the objective of growing “relevance and accessibility among a broader, younger audience,” by focussing on “enhancing ball in flow, reducing stoppages and increasing welfare outcomes.” This comes following the ‘Shape of the Game’ forum earlier this month.

Among the list of amendments is a planned adjustment to Law 10, or the loophole in the law that has colloquially become known as the ‘Dupont Law’.

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Richard Cockerill on his own personal experience with Georgia

The head coach chats about his experience in Georgia and the pressure that exists ahead of playing Portugal.

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Richard Cockerill on his own personal experience with Georgia

The head coach chats about his experience in Georgia and the pressure that exists ahead of playing Portugal.

Law 10.7bi states that “an offside player can be put onside when an opponent of that player carries the ball five metres,” which has led to strange kicking stalemates with a legion of players camped in the middle of the field waiting to be put onside by their opponent. 

This kicking tennis battle was seen during the Guinness Six Nations, and World Rugby now seek to make adjustments to the law as seen in Super Rugby Pacific this season.

Alongside this amendment, World Rugby have proposed outlawing the ‘croc roll’ to improve player welfare. This rucking technique, whereby a player is rolled sideways from a ruck rather than driven backwards, has resulted in serious knee injuries in recent years.

The final amendment is to remove the scrum option from a free-kick to save time.

A series of closed law trials that can be implemented at “domestic and cross-border level” have also been introduced.

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The trials include an expansion of the shot clock for scrum and lineouts and reduced kicking time, marking the ball from a restart, playing the ball after a maul has been stopped once, greater protection of the No9 at the base of the scrum, ruck and at the maul, and finally being able to play on if a throw-in is not straight at the lineout if it is uncontested.

From March 19, referees will also be expected to be stricter in enforcing three current laws- the ‘use it’ call at the breakdown, a hooker’s brake foot at the scrum and the 2022 law regarding water carriers entering the field of play.

The 20-minute red card sanction that has been trialled in various competitions will also be explored further by specialist working groups, amid of list of additional changes to the laws.

With the aim of making the game safer, the specialist working groups will look into potential changes to the current tackle height and the way the breakdown is contested, together with altering the timing and number of replacements that can be made.

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The role of the bench is becoming increasingly vital in rugby, with teams breaking away from the traditional split of five forwards and three backs on the bench to a more physical six forwards and two backs, or even seven forwards and one back, which was famously deployed by South Africa in the World Cup final last year.

Another topic that has received much attention in recent weeks is the role of the television match official, which is why the remit for the TMO protocol will be under review. This comes after France’s win over Scotland in the Six Nations hinged on a TMO decision in the final play of the match, which has led to calls for changes in the role and power that a TMO has.

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Comments

3 Comments
D
David 126 days ago

Stop clocks on plays, no scrums, protection from “roughing the passer”, more use of the bench. Why not pad up and call it American football?

Surprised Super League haven't sued for the blatant theft of their laws, now on to NFL.

Is it just me that feels the essence of rugby is being lost to the need for a sporting spectacle.

S
Spew_81 127 days ago

Another rule that would be good to implement is a maximum length of time the ball can be in an individual scrum. Often the ball is ready to be played, but they keep the ball in to try and ‘milk’ a penalty.

All too often that leads to a lineout drive. Stirling rugby - for the purist, or the fans of that team.

Make scrums restarts again.

B
Bull Shark 127 days ago

Hallelujah for the elimination of the croc roll. About time!

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