Goal-line drop-outs and the ability to replace red carded players after 20 minutes are the two law innovations trialled by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) that will carry over to Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman when the new competition kicks off this weekend.
Players, fans and coaches have grown accustomed to a range of law trials during Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU this year, but a number of these will not be used during Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
The two law innovations used in Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa that will not carry over to the new six-week trans-Tasman competition are the captain’s referral and Golden Point extra time.
New Zealand Rugby Head of High Performance Mike Anthony said it was important to ensure the laws used over the next six weeks did not disadvantage players from either side of the Tasman.
“New Zealand Rugby has trialled a range of innovations this season in Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa and we are reviewing those trials with a view to making some recommendations for future competitions.
“For Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman we have agreed with Rugby Australia to stick to laws that were consistent across our respective domestic Super Rugby competitions, which in this case are the goal-line drop-out and the red card replacement.
“Statistics from Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa indicate the goal-line drop-out has achieved its purpose of speeding up the game and getting the ball back in play more quickly than a 5m scrum, while we believe the red card replacement rule maintains the integrity of matches for players and fans alike when a player has been sent off.”
It has been agreed that matches tied at full time during the round-robin will finish as a draw with the two teams sharing the competition points, Anthony said.
“The exception will be the final, which will follow the same extra time protocols as the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa final. If the respective Super Rugby finals in New Zealand and Australia over the weekend are anything to go by Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman will be an incredibly exciting tournament."
Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman kicks off at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday, 14 May when the Highlanders and Reds play the first of five weeks of cross-Tasman matches involving the Hurricanes, Blues, Crusaders and Chiefs from New Zealand and the Brumbies, Waratahs, Rebels and Force from Australia.
All 25 regular season matches will be live and exclusive on Sky in New Zealand as well as the final on Saturday, 19 June, which will see the two top-placed teams on a combined competition ladder square off for the title.
Innovations from Super Rugby AU which will not carry over to Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman are the 22/50 and 50/22 kicking law that rewarded tactical kicking, a restart variation, which saw any infringement from a kick-off result in a freekick on halfway to the receiving team, and Golden Try extra time.