Four clubs have agreed to trial three experimental rule changes in their festive friendlies over Christmas.
The experimental changes are designed to enhance the thrilling spectacle of the world’s most exciting team sport and will be trialled in the Boxing Day friendlies, Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams.
The changes are as follows:
Kicking the ball dead from inside your own half - where the ball is kicked dead or touch in goal from inside the kicker’s own half, play will be restarted with a handover at the centre of the 40m line nearest to the non-kicking team’s goal line.
Charge down - charging down the ball does not restart the tackle count. If the kicking team regains possession the tackle count will continue as before. The charge down will still not count as a knock on.
Attacking team option to reduce numbers in scrum - where a team is awarded a scrum, the feeding team has the option of only putting five men in the scrum giving them eight “backs” to attack with.
The experimental changes were formulated by the RFL Laws Committee, a body which comprises representatives from many aspects of the game at all levels, including coaches, players and administrators.
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, who chairs the Laws Committee, said he was looking forward to seeing the impact the changes would have on the two fixtures.
“Christmas friendlies are the perfect opportunity to trial changes such as these and I would like to thank all four clubs for their willingness to participate in the experiment,” said Wood.
“The rule changes have been proposed with a view to enhancing the game day experience for both fans and players alike and I’m sure that will be the case for everyone at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and Mount Pleasant on Boxing Day.”
Details of the experimental changes were presented to the autumn meeting of the RL Council and their impact will be assessed in the New Year before any decision is taken on their future implementation.