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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 22:13 GMT 23:13 UK
England seeks scrum rule change
A scrum during last season's Premiership
England's top clubs and referees hope to introduce a new rule aimed at avoiding uncontested scrums in the Guinness Premiership this season.

The proposal, an approach adopted in the French championship last year, sees the side responsible forfeit a player.

Uncontested scrums occur when one side cannot field a full front row of two props and a hooker because of injury.

They were introduced on safety grounds but weak scrummaging teams have flouted them with conveniently-timed injuries.

It is a preventative measure, not a sanction

RFU referee chief Colin High
The Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby both support the proposal but the RFU is still waiting for the International Rugby Board to clarify if they can introduce the proposed rule change.

The IRB committee that deals with law changes does not meet again until November.

"If the IRB say they don't want to do it, we won't do it," said Colin High, the RFU's elite referee manager.

"But we don't want uncontested scrums, it is an unedifying sight and they are not good for the game.

"France implemented the rule with massive success last season. They had not one uncontested scrum. It is a preventative measure, not a sanction.

"If we don't bring in that regulation I see no reason to expect the Premiership to be any different this season to what it was last season."

  • The RFU's disciplinary officer, Commodore Jeff Blackett, has confirmed that traditional rucking will continue to be permitted within the strict guidelines in place last season.

    Twickenham officials were thinking of introducing automatic red cards for any player placing his boot on the body of an opponent.

  • Premier Rugby's bid to extend half-time from 10 to 15 minutes this season is set to be vetoed by the IRB.

    The IRB says that such a move requires a change to law 5.2, which states that the interval should not be more than 10 minutes, and that a moratorium on changes had been agreed until after next year's World Cup.

    The clubs want the longer break to help increase bar and food sales.

    Premiership to extend half-time
    18 Jul 06 |  English


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