Seven closed law trials will be in effect at the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia which kicks off on Wednesday, 31 May in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.

The trials will run alongside five (open) global law trials that came into effect on 1 January, 2017 in the Southern Hemisphere and will come into effect in the northern hemisphere from 1 August, 2017. The closed trials, which are focused around the scrum and breakdown, will also be in effect at the Nations Cup and the U20 Trophy in Uruguay.

The seven law trials are:

  • No signal from referee prior to put-in at scrum
  • Scrum-half must throw the ball in straight but can align left shoulder with the middle of the tunnel
  • Allowing the number eight to pick from the feet of the second row
  • Compulsory striking by the hooker after throw-in to scrum
  • Tackle only and offside line creation (Tackler, tackled player and at least one player on their feet and over the ball creates the offside line)
  • A player cannot kick the ball out of the ruck – can only hook it back
  • Tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from his side of the tackle gate

Speaking as the U20 Championship gets set for kick-off, World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager Alain Rolland said: “These closed law trials were successfully implemented at the Americas Rugby Championship and the Pacific Challenge this year with some positive results, so we’re eager to see how they feature at the U20 Championship over the coming weeks. 

“Around the scrum, we want to see more ball-out, less penalties, a decrease in the amount of reset and collapsed scrums. We’re hoping to see a positive approach from teams and coaches and the aim is to see more ball in play.”

Feedback and statistics will be reviewed by World Rugby at the completion of the tournaments.

Meanwhile the global law trials, which were introduced in January, focused on front-row replacements (for uncontested scrums), advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping. Click here to read more. The British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Pacific Nations Cup will also be played under these global law trials.