Several new laws have been introduced for the 2021-22 Premiership rugby union campaign to improve player welfare and encourage attacking play.
The laws form part of a trial by World Rugby, with the governing body aiming to make the game safer before the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup in France.
A 50:22 kick has been introduced, while a goalline drop-out will replace the award of scrums on the five-metre line.
Three laws concerning the breakdown have also been amended.
These concern pre-bound pods of players, lower-limb clear-outs and laws relating to latching.
Meanwhile, a panel of World Rugby Independent Concussion Consultants (ICC) will be also introduced into the Premiership.
The ICC panel will provide independent expert opinion on whether a player should return to action following a confirmed concussion and the successful completion of the six-stage graduated return to play process for elite competitions.
What are the new Premiership laws?
- A successful 50:22 kick will give a team put-in to the line-out if they kick into touch indirectly (i.e. on the bounce) when kicking either from their own half into the opposition 22m. The law trial aims to force players to drop deeper in the defensive line, creating space for attackers.
- In the in-goal area, if; an attacking player is held up, there is an attacking knock-on or an attacking kick is grounded by the defensive side, play will restart with a goalline drop-out. This law trial is intended to reduce the number of scrums, reward good defence, encourage counter-attacking and increase the rate of ball in play
- Pre-bound pods of players: The practice of pods of three or more players being pre-bound prior to receiving the ball has been outlawed. The sanction will be a penalty kick
- Sanctioning the lower limb clear-out: Players who target/drop their weight onto the lower limbs of a jackler will be penalised. The sanction will be a penalty kick
- Tightening law relating to latching: A one-player latch will be permitted, but this player has the same responsibilities as a first arriving player (i.e. must stay on feet, enter through gate and not fall to floor). The sanction will be a penalty kick