2022 Senior Club Rugby changes

There are some exciting law variations being trialled across Senior Club Rugby in 2022.

Four Experimental Domestic Safety Law Variations (EDSLV) are being trialled in Senior Club Rugby in 2022. These include scrum constraints around resets, a new offside line at the scrum for the halfback of the team not in possession, and the addition of amending field dimensions to Game On.

These variations have been developed over the past six months through a series of successful trials in Provincial Unions competitions, workshops, and working groups, and are intended to preserve the characteristics of rugby, while allowing New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to continue to explore ways to increase the safety, relevancy and attractiveness of the game for community rugby participants.

Alongside the EDSLVs, Five World Rugby Global Law Trials will also be introduced in Senior Club Rugby during the 2022 Season. 

Scrum Reset scrum following no infringement results in team originally awarded the scrum being offered uncontested scrum or free kick Reduce repeated resets due to technical competence and/or fatigue Increased playing time
Reduces risk of scrum injuries

Provides tactical variety

Scrum 1.5M Maximum Push unless within 5m of goal line. Free kick awarded against the team that infringed. Improve scrum stability and reduce frequency of resets Reduced risk of scrum injuries 

Reduced ability to scrum for penalties

Retain ability for pushover tries

Increase ball in play

Offside at Scrum The halfback of the team not in possession must remain 1m from the scrum and may not advance past the tunnel until the scrum has ended Promote positive play

Provides faster and cleaner ball

Provides greater options for No 8 and No 9 plays off the back of the scrum

All Designated non-Premier competitions*
Game On Field Dimensions may be varied using existing field markings down to ½ Field Provide further game variations to flexibly meet participants needs Smaller field for smaller playing numbers provide a more meaningful experience All Designated non-Premier competitions
50:22 If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw into the resultant lineout. The ball cannot be passed or carried back into the defensive half for the 50:22 to be played. The phase must originate inside the defensive half. Encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield.

Create more attacking space

Reduce defensive line speed

Goal Line Drop-Out If the ball is held up in in-goal, there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line drop-out anywhere along the goal line. Encourage variety in attacking play close to the goal line and to increase ball in play time by replacing a scrum with a kick that must be taken without delay. Create  opportunity for counter attack. All
Flying Wedge To sanction the three person pre-bound mini-scrum by redefining the flying wedge. Reduce number of events where the ball carrier and multiple support players are in contact (latched) prior to contact. Protect the tackler who can be faced with the combined force of three opposing players. All
1-player pre-latched To recognise the potential for 1-player pre-latching prior to contact, but this player must observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet. Be more consistent in the management of the 1-person pre-latched player.   All
Targeting of Lower Limbs at the ruck Introduce a sanction for clean outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs. Reduce injury risk to the player being cleaned out   All

*Designated Premier Grade Competitions include competitions that have been designated by the Provincial Union/s (or other organisation, such as a regional secondary school sports authority) having jurisdiction over that competition. More than one grade may be designated as a Designated Premier Grade Competition.

EDSLVs being trialled in selected competitions

Three law variations will also be trialled in selected Senior Club Rugby competitions in 2022, in consultation with Provincial Unions.

2022 EDSLVs in Selected Competitions

When will the EDSLVs be reviewed?

The EDSLVs will be reviewed at the conclusion of the 2022 season to determine if there is a need to refine these or adopt them into DSLVs. The review will take a qualitative and quantitative approach, taking into consideration game footage, key metrics, and participant feedback.

Share your feedback

If you have any feedback regarding the 2022 EDSLVs, please send us an email at participation@nzrugby.co.nz.