Ball-steal rule set to be axed

The RFL will drop the controversial ball-steal rule after just one season.

Meanwhile, the governing body have deferred a decision in the possible return of scrums.

The ball-steal rule, copied from Australia’s NRL, allows a player to strip the ball from an opponent if his team-mates drop off the tackle in time.

But it has created confusion and difficulty for referees in deciding whether players had fallen off the tackle.

Now the governing body’s laws committee will seek RFL board approval to remove the rule from the start of next season.

A spokesman said: “Members were unanimous in their view that the RFL should lobby the International Rugby League for the law’s removal from the international game from 2022.”

Scrums were removed from matches when the Super League season resumed last August in a bid to cut down on the number of close contacts during the coronavirus pandemic.

They remain in the international laws and will be used in this Autumn’s World Cup.

The RFL say the committee considered the level of risk against the potential impact on fixtures across Super League, the Championship and League 1.

Sitting were Ralph Rimmer (chair), Robert Hicks (secretary), Chris Chester (head coaches), Laura Fairbank (RFL head of medical), Steve Ganson (RFL head of match officials), Carl Hall (League 1 clubs), Paul Harrison (Championship clubs), Gemma Phillips (clinical advisory group), Dave Rotheram (RFL chief on-field officer), Paul Sculthorpe (England performance unit), Kris Radlinski (Super League clubs) and Danny Wilson (heads of youth).

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