The main amendments are:
- The replacement of a player injured following foul play does not count as one of the allotted number of replacements available to that team. Note this does not apply where interchanges are in use.
- Advantage may be played following a scrum collapse if there is no risk to player safety
- Play acting or “simulation” is specifically outlawed in the game in a move that formalises resistance to a practice that has been creeping into the game in recent years. Any player who dives or feigns injury in an effort to influence the match officials will be liable for sanction
- Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 30 seconds of the mark being made, unless the referee stops the clock for an injury or another stoppage
- At a re-set scrum following a 90-degree wheel, the ball is thrown in by the team that previously threw it in rather than the team not in possession
- The scrum-half of the team not in possession at a scrum may not move into the space between the flanker and number eight
- When the ball has been at the number eight’s feet in a stationary scrum for 3-5 seconds, the referee will call “use it” and the attacking team must use the ball immediately
- In addition, an important maul law application guideline, that has been in place in the southern hemisphere since 1 January, will be enforced in the north. Specifically, the ball must now be moved backwards hand-to-hand once the maul has formed, with a player not being allowed to physically move or slide to the back of the maul when he is in possession of the ball. Nor are long placements permitted, this is the passing of the ball over the heads of other maul players to a player further back.