Rugby Australia confirms law trials for Super Rugby AU

Rugby Australia has signed off on the trial laws it hopes will make its new Super Rugby AU competition a more entertaining product.

RA confirmed the changes on Friday morning, 24 hours after it had locked in the draw for the 12-week tournament which kicks off on July 3, after weeks of discussions with a "select panel" of coaches, players, administrators and referees.

There are seven law trials in total, two of which will be used in New Zealand Rugby's Super Rugby Aotearoa, which starts on Saturday, while the other three Australian trials pertain to kicks around the field and an attacking team that has a player held up over the goal-line.

The 50/22 and 22/50 kicking laws will see a lineout awarded to the team that kicked the ball [the ball must first bounce before going into touch], while a kick that is grounded behind the defending team's in-goal will now result in a goal-line drop-out, rather than a 22-metre restart.

A player will no longer be able to call a mark when a ball is kicked from within that 22-metre portion of the field, either. However, a mark will be able to be called from within the in-goal.

A player who is red-carded will now be able to be replaced after 20 minutes while any match that is drawn at full-time will have two five-minute periods of "Super Time" to try and find a winner; those are the two law trials that are also being used in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Finally, a team that has a player held up over the goal-line will no longer be awarded a five-metre scrum, with play to instead restart with a goal-line dropout by the defending team.

"We assembled some of the best minds in the game from a range of different roles to look at adding some new attacking dimensions to the game while at the same time sticking to some key principles to preserve the fabric of the sport," RA's director of rugby Scott Johnson said.

"The level of engagement was outstanding from the players and coaches involved in the process and we ended up with a set of law variations that were unanimously agreed upon by all 24 people involved.

"A couple of the variations including the 50/22 and 22/50's have been trialled previously in the NRC and we have added some principles around line drop-outs to encourage more short attacking kick options near the line, and a Super Time tiebreaker in the event of a draw."

As has been previously reported, Super Rugby AU will also look to improve the amount of time the ball is in play by ensuring teams do not blatantly waste time at stoppages.

"We will also zero in on the application of law around the breakdown and scrums, trying to limit some of the down time and improve the flow of the game," Johnson said.

"Throughout the process we stuck to the principle that whatever we changed, the game still had to be Rugby, and nothing could compromise the Wallabies' preparation for Test Rugby. In fact, I believe the changes we have implemented will broaden and enhance the capabilities of our players."