They are at it again.
This season's rule changes have just been announced:
Zero tackle from 20m restart: The first tackle after a 20m optional kick will be called a zero tackle. The rule change provides an extra tackle to discourage tactical kicks and negative play when the ball is kicked dead to slow down the game and deny wingers and fullbacks the chance to return kicks.40/20 restarts: The team that performs a 40/20 kick will restart play with a tap kick 20m in from the touch at the point it crossed the line instead of at a scrum.Restarts from kicks out on full: A handover will be awarded when the ball is kicked out on the full on any tackle.Stop the clock: During the last five minutes of a match, the clock will stop following a conversion or penalty kick at goal until play restarts at halfway. The interpretation change will add excitement during close matches, provide consistency across matches and reduce potential time-wasting.Quick taps: A quick penalty restart will be permitted on any infringement except 10m penalties, where the referee issues a caution or within 10m of the opposition goal line. The interpretation change encourages more continuous play.Captain communication: Captains will only be able to speak to referees during a stoppage in play (tries, injury break or when referee is issuing a caution). Penalties and scrums are not considered stoppages of play. Captains will be given an opportunity to speak to the referees as players leave the field for half-time.Goal-kicking time limit: The referee will call time-off at approximately 1min 20sec following the scoring of a try. Fines will still apply to clubs when a player takes longer than 1min 40sec to take a conversion.Cannonball tackles: When a player is being held in an upright position by two defenders, any additional tackler must make initial contact to the player in possession above the knee. In addition, referees will be instructed to call held earlier on upright tackles to deter unnecessary third-man tackles.Crusher tackles: The Match Review Committee will be directed to charge crusher tackles at the higher end of the scale to provide a greater deterrent.
- Cannonball tackles banned
- Crusher tackles treated more severely by Match Review Committee
- Attacking team receives 'zero tackle' after 20-metre tap
- Teams to take a tap after successful 40/20 kick
- Ball handed over when kicked out on the full at any point
- Time-off called 80 seconds after try during conversion
- Clock to stop between goals and restarts in last five minutes of games
- Quick tap allowed on all standard mid-field penalties
- Captains not allowed to converse with referee during scrums or penalties
These rule changes came through a process involving taking the views of 11,000 fans of the game