In the final of part we look at the timeline for the Experimental Law Variations in 2008 and beyond.
The next steps – South Africa and Super 14 Trials
SANZAR have agreed to trial a selection of the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) during the Investec 2008 Super 14 competition.
While the ELV trial process has incorporated a number of competitions around the world over the past two years, the SANZAR competition, comprising provincial sides from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and some of the biggest names in the Game, will represent the highest level of testing to date.
Variations adopted by SANZAR for the 2008 competition 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.
In addition, the South Africa Rugby Union will trial the full ELV inventory across all levels of competition starting in February 2008. This is a very exciting development for the Game as this gives a further opportunity to conduct comprehensive on-field analysis of the Experimental Law Variations from school level right through to the Currie Cup.
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 International Rugby Board is extremely appreciative of the positive attitude that all the participating Unions have taken in assisting this important project.
It is crucial that these ELVs continue to be trialled in different conditions and environments. The implementation of the full inventory of ELVs in South Africa and a selection of them in the Super 14 is a big step in the right direction and will ensure that the IRB obtain further extensive data for analysis.
Currently all Member Unions have been sent information on the ELVs, including analysis of the previous trials and the merits of each Law variation. The Unions’ feedback along with a comprehensive report including recommendations from the Laws Project Group on the ELVs will then be presented to the IRB Council in November 2008.
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.
Listen to an interview with IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien and Steve Griffiths, the IRB's Strategy Development Manager, talking about the Experimental Laws Variations in this week's Total Rugby Radio show from 18:00 UK time on Thursday 14 February.
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