We had a very informative talk last night on the new laws by Test Referee Stuart Berry. The following are the main points:
1. Crouch, Touch, Set will only be used in Premier Division, 1st Division and professional rugby.
2. All other rugby will be Crouch, Bind, Scrum.
3. For U14 to U16 inclusive – there is not hit. On the “Bind” command, players engage passively with shoulders touching and arms bound. On the “Scrum” call, the ball gets fed immediately and the contest begins.
4. Above U16 (school opens and all club rugby other than mentioned above), “Bind” command means bind arms and align heads ear to ear. “Scrum” – short hit and immediate contest – ball enters on the call. There is no difference between school 1st team, club 2nd division or school 8th team.
5. The first offence for early engagement will be a free-kick (short arm) per team. Thereafter a full penalty. There can be no penalty for pushing after the “Scrum” call.
6. The scrumhalf MUST feed the ball on the “Scrum” call – he gets penalised if he doesn’t – not the scrums for pushing before the feed.
7. Not in straight and foot up will be VERY strict – the thinking is that with the hit gone – this is where teams will try to get an unfair advantage.
Another main point: 1.5m maximum drive in the scrum now applies to ALL rugby where Crouch Bind Scrum is used i.e. all schools, all club other than 1st and premier division. So the only pushover tries we will ever see now will be from a Crouch Touch Set scrum.
Also note: the cadence (timing between the old calls of “crouch, touch, pause, engage) has fallen away. Referees will now vary their calls so that teams don’t anticipate the “scrum” and ball being put in.
On the dangerous tackle:
1. Lift up and deliberately turned past horizontal – yellow card from that point regardless.
2. Red only if followed by a drop or drive into the ground.