National Rugby Championship
NRC introduce 11 law variations
ESPN Staff
August 13, 2014
Captains from all nine NRC side's come together to launch the inaugural season © Getty Images

The National Rugby Championship has released this season's official law variations that have been approved by the IRB at the National Rugby Championship's official launch at Coogee Oval in Sydney on Wednesday.

National Rugby Championship Law Variations

  • Competition and Law Changes
  • Reduce penalty goal and drop goal value to two points; and increase conversion goal value to three points
  • Instead of four try bonus point system, the winning team is awarded a bonus point for finishing three or more tries ahead of their opponents
  • Pre-2013 TMO protocol to be used (i.e. for try scoring and in-goal situations only)
  • Referee Interpretation Changes
  • "If non-throwing team does not contest for the ball near where the ball is thrown, the referee may apply material effect and play on if the throw is not straight"
  • After time expires at half-time and full-time, if awarded a penalty kick, player can kick to touch and play the lineout
  • Reduced time limits down to 45 seconds for a penalty goal and 60 seconds for a conversion
  • Manage a time limit (30 seconds) to set a scrum
  • Defending half-back cannot enter area ("pocket") between flanker and number 8 at scrum
  • Increased latitude in the area where quick taps can be taken at a penalty or free kick
  • More focus on applying Laws once maul formed
  • Quick throw-ins allowed even if touched by another player or person; must be same ball

Taking into account over 6,000 votes from fans, the opinions of key stakeholders, such as the Rugby Union Players' association (RUPA), and feedback from online forums, up to 11 changes were made to laws and referee interpretations.

After an overwhelming response to change the points system and approval from the IRB, the NRC will implement a points system that reduces points for penalty goals and drop goals to two and increase points for a conversions to three, while tries will continue to be worth five points.

Several more law variations will be implemented, all of which have the underlying aim to reduce stoppages and enhance exciting play. ARU CEO Bill Pulver said he was keen to see the NRC deliver an exciting brand of rugby.

"While maintaining the integrity of the game, we want to see a more creative style of Rugby being played where risk and attack are rewarded," Pulver said. "We also want to see more continuous play and less time wasted. Involving fans in this process has been a terrific way to re-energise the passionate Rugby fan base and ensure the Buildcorp NRC has the interests of Rugby supporters at its core."

The NRC will kick off with Brisbane City hosting the Sydney Stars on Thursday 21 August, with the rest of the round played out over Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August.

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