Teams in this year’s Super Rugby competition will have the opportunity to kick for touch after the fulltime siren and take a lineout, in a variation set to add late drama to matches.
The South Africa New Zealand Australia Argentina Rugby (SANZAAR) executive committee on Tuesday approved a series of law variations in the lead-up to the start of this year’s competition on February 27.
Among those already mooted which received confirmation was the change to the tryscoring bonus point law.
The bonus, previously awarded only to teams scoring four tries, will now be added when a side finishes three tries ahead of their opponent.
However, the variation which stands to add the most late drama to a game is the one which will allow teams receiving a penalty after the halftime and fulltime siren to kick for touch and have a lineout.
Previously if a side opted to kick the ball out of play after the hooter, the game automatically ended.
SANZAAR CEO, Andy Marinos, said while the changes were subtle they would help the evolution of the tournament he considered the best provincial rugby competition in the world.
“The change for the bonus point, which has been widely discussed throughout the past week as one potential innovation, has now been formally approved for the 2016 season,” Marinos said.
“By implementing this change we expect to see more attacking and competitive rugby, as teams will be asked to keep their foot down for the full 80 in order to claim the tryscoring bonus point, which we have seen used to great effect in France over the past few years.
“In addition to this, permitting teams to opt for a lineout after time has expired serves as a disincentive to opponents infringing and aims to reward sides that are particularly strong set-piece exponents, which coupled with the previously mentioned changes encourages more attacking and competitive rugby.”
SANZAAR was formerly know as SANZAR but has added an extra A to their name to recognise Argentina’s participation in the joint venture.
Argentina, which made the semi-finals of last year’s World Cup, has competed in the four-nation southern hemisphere Rugby Championship for a number of years and will field a team in the new expanded 2016 Super tournament which also includes a side based in Japan.
“Their top-four finish at the rugby World Cup and now full participation in Super Rugby adds further strength and prestige to the existing competition structures,” Marinos said.