The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced that South Africa is to trial the full inventory of IRB Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) across all levels of competitions starting next month.
“The IRB is delighted that the South African Rugby Union has agreed to trial the full inventory of ELVs. This is a very exciting development for the Game as this gives a further opportunity to conduct comprehensive on-field analysis of the ELVs from school level right through to the Currie Cup,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“Importantly, everything that is being trialled relates to the game’s Playing Charter that recognises Rugby as being a game for all shapes and sizes and that the contest for possession is of paramount importance. The IRB has no desire to change the very fabric of the Game, but recognises the need to continually look at the Laws to ensure that Rugby is as easy as possible to play, referee and understand,” added Lapasset.
Trials conducted in South Africa will relate to the breakdown (tackle and post tackle area), the maul, the lineout, sanctions, kicking from inside the 22 metre line and the act of scoring in relation to the corner posts. The trials will also enable the IRB to conduct an in-depth injury surveillance audit of 20 clubs and schools, while extensive qualitative feedback will be obtained from players, coaches and referees.
The ELV project is being managed by the IRB under the auspices of the IRB Laws Project Group (LPG). To date the ELVs have been successfully trialled (either specific ELVs or in their entirety) in the Stellenbosch University Hostel League, Scottish Super Cup, English Country Championship, Australian Rugby Championship, Sydney and Brisbane club competitions and Division B of the New Zealand National Provincial Championship.
Laws Project Group
The IRB LPG includes IRB Scottish Council Member Bill Nolan (Chairman), IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont, former France player and coach Pierre Villepreux, former World Cup winning Australia coach Rod MacQueen, former South Africa Coach Ian McIntosh, former Scotland coach Richie Dixon, IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien, IRB Medical Officer Dr Mick Molloy and IRB Development Manager Bruce Cook.
Specific ELVs will also be trialled during the 2008 Super 14 competition which kicks-off in February. Variations adopted by SANZAR relate to the corner posts, lineout, offside at the breakdown, scrum, sanctions and kicking from inside the 22 metre line.
“The IRB is extremely appreciative of the positive attitude that all the participating Unions have taken in assisting this important project. It is crucial that we continue to trial these ELVs in different conditions and environments. The implementation of the full inventory of ELVs in South Africa, including the Currie Cup, is a big step in the right direction and will ensure that we obtain further extensive data for analysis,” said IRB Laws Project Group Chairman Bill Nolan.
“Currently all member Unions have been sent information on the ELVs including analysis of the previous trails and the merits of each law variation. The Unions’ feedback along with a comprehensive report including recommendations from the LPG on the ELVs will then be presented to the IRB Council in November. Council will then decide at the meeting whether to accept all or some of the ELVs or to amend them. If it votes to accept all or some of them they will be implemented worldwide for a period of 12 months, before the ELVs can be accepted fully into Law at the end of this trial period in 2009,” added Nolan.
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