Landers coach happy with new Super Rugby rules

Highlanders coach Tony Brown has given the thumbs up to rule changes.

The changes, consisting of a goal line drop-out and captain’s referrals, will start in pre-season matches which kick off this weekend. Golden point and red card replacements, introduced last year, will remain.

A goal line drop-out will occur when an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on in the in-goal area, or when an attacking kick, other than a penalty or drop goal attempt, is grounded by the defending team in its in-goal area.

A captain’s referral will give each captain one opportunity per match to ask the referee to have the television match official (TMO) check for an infringement before a try, or to review foul play.

Brown said the new rules were exciting and all statistics pointed to them creating more ball in play. There could be fewer 5m scrums.

He said the referral system should make sure calls at the end of games were correct.

The TMO will only be able to go back to the last stoppage in play, regardless of how many phases have been played.

Foul play referrals can be made after any stoppage in play if the captain believes foul play has been missed by the match officials.

The captain’s referral will be applied more broadly from the 75-minute mark in any match and can be used to check any referee’s decision, regardless of whether a try has been scored.

An unsuccessful referral will lead to the team losing it. The rationale for introducing the goal line drop-out was to reward attacking teams by allowing them to build pressure and to encourage defending teams to clear the ball from their in-goal area.

It is hoped more teams will attack from a goal line drop-out as they will be in attacking areas.

The drop-out can be taken from anywhere along the goal line and must go 5m.

In Super Rugby Australia, new rules allow red-carded players to be replaced by a substitute after 20 minutes, while a five-second time limit to use the ball once available will also be policed to eradicate tedious ‘‘caterpillar’’ rucking.

Teams will also have just 30 seconds to restart play after points are scored, while scrum resets will be timed by the TMO to crack down on unnecessary delays.

If a match is drawn, the team that scores the first try in extra time will automatically win the match.

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