Plenty of Super Rugby changes

2013-01-10 17:12

Cape Town - Super Rugby returns in 2013, but while it will still be as long and intense, filled with drama and passion, the format will have a slightly different tinge this year.

Final draw for the 2013 Super Rugby season

According to the website, with Australian sides kicking off a week earlier than the rest, thanks to their money-spinning British and Irish Lions tour, the 18th year of Super Rugby will start in two spurts - in Australia on February 15, and for the rest a week later.

With so many changes to the laws, SANZAR announced on Thursday that the half-time break was extended from 10 to 12 minutes, adding more time for analysis and commercial opportunities for broadcasters during games.

But one law that won’t be implemented is the 23-man squad - whereby teams need to have a full front row on the bench, with SANZAR holding off while the IRB completes trials in other competitions.

Still, there are some significant changes to the laws, including the three-call scrum that will be implemented for the first time, a change to the quick lineout throw in law and most significantly, the five-second rule to clear a ruck that was so successful in New Zealand’s ITM Cup when trialled late last year.

The scrum call - which changes the call from “Crouch, touch, pause, engage” to “Crouch, set, engage” has been relatively successful when implemented in the northern hemisphere and is to help with safety more than anything else.

With regards to quick throw ins, the amendment to the law says “the player may be anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and the player’s goal line.”

“When the ball goes into touch from a knock-on, the non-offending team will be offered the choice of a lineout at the point the ball crossed the touchline or a scrum at the place of the knock-on. The non-offending team may take a quick throw-in.”

But the most significant change will be the five-second law at ruck time, meant to cut down on structured kicking and to ensure the ball is utilised more quickly.

A scrumhalf has five seconds to clear the ball from the base of the ruck before the referee calls “use it”. If he doesn’t, the ref will award a scrum to the opposing team, much like a maul that is held up.

According to SANZAR’s head of referees, Lyndon Bray, the changes are a positive move to make the game more entertaining.

“The changes are a very positive set of changes in the interests of the game,” Bray said, “They help promote both attack options and improved outcomes for the game.

“It is now up to the referees at their January camp and the teams to ensure they work on making these changes work. We are keen within Super Rugby to make further improvements to the scrum as well.”

The first round of Super Rugby kicks off on February 15 with the Australian derbies, with the Rebels hosting the Force and the Brumbies hosting the Reds.

South Africa and New Zealand kick off their tournaments a week later, with two mouth-watering local derbies starting the long season. On Friday, February 22 (19:10) the Bulls host the Stormers, while the Cheetahs host the Sharks on Saturday, February 23 (17:05).

The new team in the competition, the Kings, host the Force on Saturday, February 23 in the late game (19:10).


  • hein.huyser - 2013-01-10 17:31

    Like the 5 second call at scrums. This will speed up play and make the game quicker.

      squeegee.pilot - 2013-01-10 18:08

      Another new rule: The Kringes start every game 28 points ahead of their opponents. Tthe opposing side's points are halved. This isto ensure that new scoreboards are not needed. Scoreboards cannot show three digit scores...

      prot.kpax.33 - 2013-01-10 18:16

      You mean ruck?

      Caleb - 2013-01-11 02:14

      I dont think this will benefit SA sides, who play a slightly more structured game as opposed to off the cuff 'Helter Skelter' style of Oz and NZ teams.

  • james.r.cumming - 2013-01-10 17:47

    "The scrum call - which changes the call from “Crouch, touch, pause, engage” to “Crouch, set, engage” has been relatively successful when implemented in the northern hemisphere and is to help with safety more than anything else" Then new scrum call is "crouch, touch, set". NOT, "crouch, set,engage" as you mentioned. Poor reporting from news24 as usual.

      Caleb - 2013-01-11 02:15

      Just par for the course.

  • ross.seward.1 - 2013-01-10 17:49

    Hein read article carefully 5 second rule is at ruck time not scrum time and as far as I am concerned the 3 call scrum has still not been addressed properly the issues we have at scrum time are an absolute mess and we need another solution for the matter

      james.r.cumming - 2013-01-10 18:17

      The replacement of the word "engage" with "set" makes for a 1 syllable word, whereas engage has 3 syllables which refs often drag out. Eeeeennnnngaaaaaaage, whick f*#k's with the front row's timing. Hopefully well have quicker scrums and less collapses.

  • Citroes - 2013-01-10 17:51

    IRB just cannot seem to stop screwing around with the scrum set up. It used to be a 3 count (crouch, pause, engage), then became 4 (touch added), now back to 3. All they do is change what words are called. Idiotic. I predict a dire, boring Super season with all the boring old derby matches. At least the Kings record losing margins will be some entertainment.

      nuus.reeder - 2013-01-11 06:54

      Agree, the derby match's are not what we want, we want international competition. We have the Currie Cup for derby match's.

  • BoyvandieSuburbs - 2013-01-10 18:05

    "Crouch, set, engage"...HAHHAAAAAA!!!

  • louis.langenhoven - 2013-01-10 18:14

    the average scrumhalf in SA is so slow they will never manage to get the ball out in under 5 seconds ;-)

      trevor.dean.10 - 2013-01-10 18:44

      The Bulls usually take 30 seconds.

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2013-01-10 23:14

      Trev, that's when Wallaby Hougaard is not playing. He's still clearing the ball 30 minutes after the final wistle.

  • philip.buys.1 - 2013-01-10 18:42

    anybody going to support the kings? no, i didn't think so!

      chrisin.oz.1 - 2013-01-10 23:15

      Hopefully there will be a few people throwing oranges and naartjies at them.

  • chrisin.oz.1 - 2013-01-10 23:18

    So the halftime period is extended so SANZAR and their broadcast partners can get more money, while we need to sit through more boring irritating ads and wait for the game to re-start. But the only rule change that makes sense is not implemented: a full reserve front row. Welcome back uncontested scrums. One step closer to Rugby League. Then there's the stupid 5-second rule. No opportunity to slow the game down, or kick or speed it up as circumstances demand. When you get to the ground, now just pass as quickly as you can. Every opposing team will know the ball gets used in 5 seconds - so predictable. Another step closer to Rugby League. The rugby league focussed administrators of Aus and NZ are ruining the game. Rugby league is one of the most boring, one-dimensional, predictable games in world sport (excluding the american "sports") and only really popular in Australia. Please don't bastardise the best sport on the planet. You're trying to make rugby attractive for people with limited attention spans and low intelligence. There's already two sports for them, rugby league and T20 cricket.

      shaun.kuhn.79 - 2013-01-11 11:59

      Hi Chrisin.oz.1 for the first time you actually make valid comments....

      jaco.groenewald.731 - 2013-01-11 12:19

      Gee Chris, I actually agree with you!!!!

      marius.olivier.7 - 2013-01-11 14:14

      Somebody said to me the other day that he has stopped watching rugby, because any game that is over 100 years old and still haven't got it's rules sorted out, is not worth watching. These money hungry administrators are destroying the game of rugby with their annual rule changes. 40 years ago when you could pile into a loose scrum any way you liked and the strongest guy won the ball, we saw far better back-line tries being scored than today, because a centre or a wing just had o beat his opposing number and not an extra 5 forwards standing in the back line too.

  • michael.cassel.71 - 2013-01-11 08:42

    The "crouch, set, engage" isn't it 'crouch, touch, set?'

  • heinrich.barnard.9 - 2013-01-11 08:48

    Don't see how this will help the Kings

  • jjskosana - 2013-01-11 09:56

    with that 5 sec rule we need nr. 9's lik, jano vermaak, hougie, sarel pretorius, charl mclude, cobus reinacht...

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