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Earlier this year, World rugby set out its 2019 plan to further mitigate the risk of injury in the sport. The World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont stated that; Our major focus is the tackle, which is the most common facet of the game, and this year we will complete the initial analysis on the reduced tackle height trials. We are also hosting a wide-ranging laws forum in Paris in March, with a focus on injury-prevention and how evaluation and evolution of the laws might positively impact this area within the next four-year laws review cycle.” 

Read more on the Chairman’s comments here

The Kenya Rugby Union got in touch with one of the top Kenya Rugby Referees Association members, Constant Cap to clarify on these amendments. The italicized paragraphs are the brief explanations on the laws.

Law 6: Additional persons: Medical assistance


Appropriately trained and accredited first-aid or immediate (pitch-side) care persons may enter the playing area to attend to injured players at any time it is safe to do so.

In previous law books, it said “only qualified doctors or physiotherapists” were allowed to enter the playing area to attend to a player. In the 2019 law book, it recognises that other trained medical people may be present so it’s now: “Appropriately trained and accredited first-aid or immediate (pitch-side) care persons may enter the playing area to attend to injured players at any time it is safe to do so.”

Law 15.4: Offside at the ruck


Each team has an offside line that runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any ruck participant. If that point is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for that team is the goal line.

The new law defines the offside lines in a ruck as being a “line that runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any ruck participant.”

Previously it was the hindmost foot of the player on your own team. This recognizes that in a ruck players are likely to be on the ground and not necessarily on their feet.

Law 19.30 Offside at the scrum

  1. Once play in the scrum begins, the scrum-half of the team not in possession:


  1. Takes up a position with both feet behind the ball and close to the scrum but not in the space between the flanker and the number eight or
  2. Permanently retires to a point on the offside line either at that team’s hindmost foot, or
  3. Permanently retires at least five metres behind the hindmost foot.

18.25 Blocking the throw at the lineout

Law 18.25 Opposition players must not block the throw. Sanction: Free-kick.

This isn’t new, but it corrects an accidental omission in the 2018 law book. When the 2017 law book was simplified for 2018, this written element of law was accidentally missed out, even though the picture was retained. The wording returns now in 2019.

Law 9.26 – Don’t drop a team mate

In open play, any player may lift or support a team-mate. Players who do so must lower that player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by either team. Sanction: Free-kick.

Last year, World Rugby added a new law to mandate that a player lifting a teammate, brings that player back down to ground safely. This is included in the 2019 law book as Law 9.26.

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